According to President Obama, the only people who really stand to gain from building the Keystone XL pipeline are Canadians:
President Obama told a group of House Republicans at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday that the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline won’t profit anyone but Canada.
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., told the Associated Press that Obama said the benefits of the project have been overstated because many of the jobs created would be temporary, and much of the oil produced from the pipeline would be exported.
“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians,” Terry said.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp won a narrow victory in North Dakota last year after promising to stand up to President Obama on issues like the Keystone pipeline. She clearly hasn’t done a very good job with the President she shares a political party with, because if she had the President would know that the Kesystone pipeline stands to be of great benefit to the state.
The benefit would be for the oil industry, first of all. Bakken oil sells at a discount because of the difficulty in getting it out of the state. Existing pipelines are filled to capacity, and the overflow has resulted in a reemergence of the state’s rail industry. The Keystone pipeline would take up a significant chunk of the Bakken’s output.
But the benefit wouldn’t just accrue to the industry. According to a press release sent out by Senator John Hoeven’s office, “The increase in North Dakota takeaway would be the equivalent of replacing approximately 500 truckloads of oil per day from roads in western North Dakota, relieving pressure on infrastructure and improving public safety.”
That statement is from early 2012, so perhaps the metrics have changed since then, but whichever way you slice it hundreds of trucks off the state’s crowded and overburdened western infrastructure would be a huge benefit to the state in terms of safety and expense.
So yes, President Obama, someone other than Canadians stand to gain from the Keystone XL pipeline. For North Dakota it means more jobs, more prosperity and safer roads. That’s no small thing.