Last week North Dakota television anchor Kerstin Kealy (she’s with WDAY in Fargo) landed an interview with President Barack Obama. Not surprisingly, given the importance of the project to our region, Kealy asked Obama about his decision to veto legislation authorizing the Keystone pipeline.
“It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs,” the President told her (video here). “We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”
Reviewing the President’s comments for truthiness, the Washington Post awarded four pinocchios for the idea that the pipeline bypasses the United States.
The Post notes that while most of the oil that would flow through the pipeline is from Canada, it doesn’t bypass the United States. Instead it would flow to U.S.-based refineries, and up to half of the refined product resulting from that oil would probably stay in the country.
What’s more, the Keystone pipeline already has contracts to transport about 67,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude from North Dakota and they have capacity for up to 100,000 barrels per day of U.S. oil.
That’s just under 10 percent of North Dakota’s total output.
So for President Obama to say that the pipeline bypasses America – implying that there’s no benefit for the pipeline to America – is patently false.
And the Washington Post called the President out on it.
Kudos to Kealy for a great interview with the President. Normally these local interviews with national figures are seen as fluff pieces, but she challenged the President and produced a meaningful exchange.
Update: Rep. Kevin Cramer responds to the WDAY interview: