On Monday, January 16, 2011, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to immediately approve the development of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline, a project which would transport tar sands from Canada to multiple points within the United States, including the Gulf of Mexico. Under current law, the president has until February 21 to declare the pipeline “not in the national interest” or it is automatically approved.
The governor’s request followed a visit from TransCanada executives to Oklahoma City. Robert Jones, Vice President for Keystone Pipelines at TransCanada, met with Fallin on Monday, as well as executives from Oklahoma oil and gas firms including Devon Energy, Continental Resources, MidContinent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. Jones also spoke with members of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Chamber.
In a letter submitted to the White House today, Fallin writes:
”… The pipeline represents an enormous and undeniable opportunity for job-creation and economic stimulus at a time when the nation is sorely in need of both. The creation of the pipeline will also help to ensure our nation’s future energy needs are met with resources from politically stable regions of the world right here in North America.
… Yet despite the obvious benefits of moving forward, some environmentalists seem bent on delaying or even preventing the construction of this pipeline.
… I enthusiastically recommend that your administration reconsider and embrace the considerable potential for economic stimulus represented by this project and approve it immediately.”
The potential economic benefits of the Keystone pipeline include: 20,000 jobs during construction and a total of 250,000 permanent jobs in the United States due to long-term, stable oil supplies, A $1.2 billion economic investment in Oklahoma, Increases in personal income of $874 million in Oklahoma and an increase of $667 million in property taxes to county and other local governments during the operating life of the pipeline
Jones said he appreciated Fallin’s efforts and that he was hopeful the president would allow construction to begin.
“Keystone XL is a shovel-ready project that would put Oklahomans and thousands more Americans back to work once construction begins,” Jones said. “Part of that project would see us connect Cushing, Oklahoma to the U.S. Gulf Coast. As a result, once the pipeline is operational, Oklahoma could see more than $667 million in property taxes to county and other local governments during the operating life of the pipeline - money that could be used to build new roads, schools and hospitals.”
Jones added, “We appreciate the enthusiastic support of not only Governor Fallin, but the many members of the energy industry and the local community we met with here today. American’s have a choice, do they want their oil to come from U.S. and Canadian sources or do they want higher priced conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela – regions that do not share American values.” Fallin said the time for the White House to delay was over.
“If the president is serious about job creation and economic stimulus, than he needs to get serious about the Keystone XL pipeline,” Fallin said. “This is a project that will deliver hundreds of thousands of good, private sector jobs, and it does so without the kind of big government programs that will put our nation further into debt. It’s time for the president to stop delaying and approve this project.”