Hurd on the Hill: Energy Security = National Security

February 9, 2015
Hurd on the Hill: Local Columns

A little more than six years ago an application for the project known as the Keystone XL Pipeline was filed with the U.S. government. A lot can happen in six years. We’ve seen amazing and useful inventions like the iPad hit the shelves. Google introduced the driverless car and a San Diego company invented what is essentially a 3-D printer for human organs. But, unfortunately, we’re still waiting for approval of Keystone.

The Keystone Pipeline, a $7 billion private-sector project, is perhaps the moststudied and scrutinized project in infrastructure history. The application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline was first filed in September of 2008. Almostthree years later, the State Department completed the Environmental Impact Study and gave all of us some very good news. They said that the pipeline would have a limited adverse impact on our environment.

Some people have asked what building the Keystone XL Pipeline would accomplish. Once completed, the pipeline would move 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the U.S. every day. It’s estimated that as many as 42,000 American jobs could be created while it’s being built, either directly or through supportingindustries. And that oil would flow towards Texas refineries, bolstering the American energy renaissance already responsible for amazing job growth in our state. Because this is a private-sector project, this would be accomplishedwith zero tax dollars being spent.

But that’s not all the Keystone XL Pipeline would accomplish.

The completion of this project would move us one step closer to American EnergySecurity, a key component of American National Security.

The United States is quickly moving towards being a net exporter of energy, rather than importing energy from other nations to meet our needs. This is important to our national security in two ways. First, when nations are buying energyfrom us, they’re not buying it from countries like China or Russia, and that’s a good thing. It also keeps us from being dependent upon nations for our energy that don’t always have America’s best interest at heart.

The Keystone pipeline also exemplifies the broader North American energy partnership we need with both Canada and Mexico. We should find ways to invest in our infrastructure that allows for natural gas exports from the Eagle Ford shale to Mexico. Following the historic energy reforms in Mexico and the fact that Mexico is already the third largest supplier of oil to the U.S., this is a clear geographic advantage we should utilize for American Energy Security.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote to pass a bill that approves the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. A version of this bill made it through the House early this year when 28 Democrats voted alongside their Republican colleagues. In the Senate, nine Democrats joined Republicans to pass it. This week, we’re voting on the Senate version. Once passed by us, it will go directly to the President’s desk. He’ll have an important decision to make then. He can side with the extreme elements of his party and go through with his threat to veto this overwhelmingly popular, bipartisan bill. Or, he can put politics aside and stand with the American workers still looking for jobs. He can decide to put national security interests ahead of partisan politics.

I hope, for all of our sakes, he makes the right decision.