Posted January 24, 2017
President Trump’s executive orders clearing the way to restart the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are welcome indeed. Both projects represent great opportunity for U.S. jobs, consumer benefits, economic growth and strengthened energy security.
At the same time, the significance of the White House’s action goes beyond a pair of important energy projects. It’s a signal that long-needed energy infrastructure will once again be able to advance in this country – under regular-order reviews and approval processes – providing broad benefits to millions of Americans. That’s huge.
Both projects had become political footballs, with political agendas trumping science, factual analysis and careful, lawful governmental review.
Keystone XL was reviewed five times by the U.S. State Department, which said the pipeline and the Canadian oil sands it would deliver to U.S. refiners would not significantly impact the environment. It enjoyed strong, bipartisan support from the American public, which saw the privately financed project as a job creator and economy grower. The builders of Dakota Access followed regular permitting and approval processes – only to see politics prevail over the rule of law – with the 1,172-mile pipeline just 1,100 feet from completion.
President Trump’s executive orders allow both projects to get on track again. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“We are pleased to see the new direction being taken by this administration to recognize the importance of our nation’s energy infrastructure by restoring the rule of law in the permitting process that’s critical to pipelines and other infrastructure projects. Critical energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipelines will help deliver energy to American consumers and businesses safely and efficiently.”
As importantly, there’s a new precedent for progress – safe and responsible energy progress. There’s new recognition that the country needs dependable transportation of energy from producing areas, including the energy-rich Bakken region, to world-class refining facilities on the Gulf Coast and in Illinois, which make the fuels and other products that support modern American life.
Energy infrastructure is a critical link in the exploration-production process, and federal policy that acknowledges the need for reasonable, timely project oversight is long overdue in Washington. Gerard:
“The United States is leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas and in the reduction of carbon emissions which are near 20-year lows. We look forward to working with the Trump administration on putting in place policies to continue our nation’s energy leadership that will benefit American consumers and workers, while protecting the environment.”
Another executive order signed by the president calls for expedited environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects. “The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess,” President Trump said.
As this applies to energy infrastructure, untangling the regulatory snarl is absolutely welcome. Robert Dillon of the American Council for Capital Formation:
“Today’s action by President Trump not only respects the rule of law, it also signals that America is once again open for business. Investment, growth and job creation should be the cornerstone of the President’s agenda and today’s executive orders reflect that commitment.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.