OPINION COLUMNS

Why I voted for the Keystone pipeline

By Kay Granger | Published Saturday, June 1, 2013

Last week, I voted to move the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline forward, joining Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R.3).

This legislation, which I co-sponsored, eliminates the need for a presidential permit. It says that the Secretary of State’s Final Environmental Impact Statement from 2011 provides enough information about the safety of this pipeline and limits legal challenges that could further delay the construction of this critical project.

TransCanada first applied for permitting approval in September 2008. Over the course of the next three years, the State Department conducted a rigorous environmental impact study on the Keystone XL pipeline. In August 2011, the State Department released their Final Environmental Impact Statement, which found the pipeline would have limited environmental impact during construction and operation.

While the Administration has delayed the pipeline’s construction, I am proud that Congress has repeatedly come together on a bipartisan basis to push the pipeline’s development forward. I believe this kind of bipartisanship – which is all too uncommon in Washington – shows there is a widespread consensus that Keystone’s economic benefits are too important to be delayed any further.

TransCanada estimates the $7 billion project would create 20,000 direct jobs during the construction phase and 100,000 indirect jobs during the life of the pipeline’s operation. At a time when we are actively discussing how to further scale back the budget, a proposal to create thousands of jobs with all private funds is just common sense.

In addition to creating tens of thousands of jobs, the Keystone pipeline will decrease our reliance on Middle East oil, an important step toward greater national security.

Canada, our largest trading partner and ally, is committed to exporting this oil. Unfortunately, the persistent delays have forced TransCanada officials to consider alternative options for bringing the oil to market, including exporting the oil to China.

I voted for H.R. 3 because it gets us closer to North American energy independence, and it creates jobs in Texas.

This issue is in the Senate’s hands now. I urge them to take this legislation up and pass this bill. It’s time to build.

Kay Granger represents the 12th District, which includes eastern Wise County, in the United States Congress.

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