The Keystone Oil Pipeline
Will it really happen? Creation Date Sunday, 26 February 2017. Hits 1350
Saturday morning a friend of mine on Facebook was talking about how President Trump was keeping all of his promises. He brought up the Keystone Pipeline. It was interesting to me because I heard a Trump surrogate on CNN talking about how Trump was keeping all of his promises, and she too brought up the Keystone Pipeline. Now understand that at this point it would be silly for me to say that he hasn't kept his promise because the pipes aren't in the ground with oil flowing through them. This caused me to wonder if Trump's supporters actually know what he has done on the pipeline, because if they did they should see that it's equally silly to claim that Trump has kept his promise on that subject. First, let's look at some of the language in the executive order that he signed on the subject.
Sec. 2. Invitation to Submit an Application. I hereby invite TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (TransCanada), to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a major pipeline for the importation of petroleum from Canada to the United States.
There is a vast difference between approving a pipeline and inviting the company to resubmit the application. That having been said, requesting that the company re-file their application is a step in the direction of approving the pipeline, but what will that process look like?
Sec. 3. Directives. (a) Department of State. The Secretary of State shall, if the application referred to in section 2 is submitted, receive the application and take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review. With respect to that review, I hereby direct as follows:
(i) The Secretary of State shall reach a final permitting determination, including a final decision as to any conditions on issuance of the permit that are necessary or appropriate to serve the national interest, within 60 days of TransCanada's submission of the permit application.
(ii) To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Department of State in January 2014 regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline (Final Supplemental EIS) and the environmental analysis, consultation, and review described in that document (including appendices) shall be considered by the Secretary of State to satisfy the following with respect to the Keystone XL Pipeline as described in TransCanada's permit application to the Department of State of May 4, 2012:
(A) all applicable requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; and
(B) any other provision of law that requires executive department consultation or review (including the consultation or review required under section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1536(a)).
(iii) To the maximum extent permitted by law, any Federal permit or authorization issued before the date of this memorandum for the Keystone XL Pipeline shall remain in effect until the completion of the project.
(iv) The agency notification and fifteen-day delay requirements of sections 1(g), 1(h), and 1(i) of Executive Order 13337 are hereby waived on the basis that, under the circumstances, observance of these requirements would be unnecessary, unwarranted, and a waste of resources.
Now, a lot of that sounds good for the pipeline. All prior studies and applications for permits that were approve shall stand if they have expired. However, a certain little statement in there did catch my eye.
The Secretary of State shall reach a final permitting determination, including a final decision as to any conditions on issuance of the permit that are necessary or appropriate to serve the national interest, within 60 days of TransCanada's submission of the permit application.
And then there is this.
“I said, ‘Who makes the pipes for the pipeline?’ ” Trump recounted Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor. “ ‘Well, sir, it comes from all over the world; isn’t that wonderful?’ I said, ‘Nope, comes from the United States, or we’re not building it.’ American steel. If they want a pipeline in the United States, they’re going to use pipe that’s made in the United States.”
But wait a second, that's a good thing, right? If they want to build a pipeline on our land than they should use our steel, right? Perhaps. Except for this.
That, my friends, is a section of miles of pipe already manufactured and ready to go into the ground for the Keystone Pipeline. Can TransCanada Keystone Pipeline afford to eat the cost of all those pipes and still make the pipeline profitable? I don't know. Do they have somewhere else they can use those pipes, or some other company they can sell them to in order to reduce the loss? I couldn't tell you.
What I can tell you is that if President Obama had pulled this on TransCanada at the last minute like President Trump did, many of the people who are defending Trump would call it a transparent attempt to derail the project.
Ultimately, if this pipeline gets built with American pipe, it's a win win for President Trump. If the deal falls through because TransCanada cannot or will not comply with this condition, than we're not going to build a pipeline and, for many Trump supporters I can assure you, Canada is going to get blamed for it. The reality, on the other hand, will be that the pipeline was derailed by a last minute stipulation by President Trump.