U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Celebrating the 5-year Anniversary of the Original Keystone Pipeline

By Matthew Koch

Earlier this week, we marked the 239th of the founding of our great nation.  It was great to see people throughout the U.S. celebrating our freedom and independence at parades, concerts, picnicking with family and friends, and watching firework displays.

July 4th wasn't the only important anniversary, however.  There may not have been fireworks and streamers, but July 1st marked the fifth year of success for the original Keystone Pipeline project.

Wait - isn't the Keystone XL Pipeline stuck in a six-year limbo, waiting for the State Department and President Obama to approve construction?

Sadly, yes. Keystone XL has yet to be approved, despite promising 42,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and $3.4 billion in U.S. GDP growth.

But prior to the politicization of pipelines by the Obama Administration, the first Keystone pipeline was approved and constructed.  This pipeline is demonstrating every day how important pipelines are to America's economic and energy security.

Key facts about the original Keystone Pipeline:

-It began operations on July 1, 2010 and is the first phase of the multi-stage oil delivery system. 

-The pipeline runs from Alberta Canada through six states – North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

-It was permitted in three years and construction was completed in two years for a cost of $5.2 billion (U.S) in private investment.

-Since 2010, it has been delivering approximately 600,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude oil to American refiners - the same Canadian crude oil that Keystone XL will deliver once it is built. 

A story in this month’s edition of the Rural Electric Nebraskan reported on the anniversary by writing about the background and benefits of the Keystone Pipeline project.  Some of the highlights:

-Since construction, the original Keystone has paid millions in property taxes to counties, townships, and to school, fire and natural resource districts along the route, including $20 million alone to Nebraska communities.

- “It’s one of four crude pipelines operating in Nebraska, one of which has been in service since the early 1950’s.  All cross at least a portion of the Ogallala High Plains Aquifer.  In fact, according to the Nebraska Pipeline Association, there are more than 20,000 miles of liquids and natural gas pipelines crisscrossing the state.”

-The pipeline has helped alternative energy: Rural power providers note that infrastructure built to provide power to pipeline pumps has the added benefit of serving to interconnect wind farms.

Gary Westphal of the Butler (NE) Public Power District summarized it best “From planning to construction to operation, …. to tax benefits to good people, after five years of operation, Keystone Pipeline has been a benefit to our customers and to communities.”

Knowing what five years of the original Keystone Pipeline has done for jobs and revenue, the State Department and the President should approve the second the Keystone pipeline--Keystone XL-- so that our great nation can continue to reap the benefits of safe, stable energy supplies from Canada.  

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