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By Michael Bastasch
The Keystone XL oil pipeline could generate about $44 million in tax revenues a day once it’s fully up and running, according to a new report.
“The expected economic, environmental, and strategic benefits of the Keystone pipeline outweigh its costs,” Kimberly VanWyhe, energy policy director at the American Action Forum, wrote in the report. “After nearly 9 years and more than $180 billion in lost economic activity, the Trump administration has demonstrated a commitment to move it forward.”
The 1,700-mile pipeline is expected to carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries, and with crude at $53 per barrel, the project could yield taxpayers $1.6 billion a year, she found.
TransCanada, the company building the project, initially applied for a cross-border permit in 2008, and the State Department subsequently found the project would have no significant impact on the environment or on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
“The State Department noted that the new pipeline will support at least 42,100 jobs and create 50 permanent jobs of which 35 will be full time and 15 will be temporary contractors,” VanWyhe wrote. “The State Department report also stated that these jobs will account for nearly $2 billion in wages which would average approximately $47,000 per employee.”
The Obama administration didn’t issue a ruling on the pipeline until late 2015. President Barack Obama rejected the pipeline on the grounds it would diminish the U.S.’s credibility on global warming.
Obama’s rejection came weeks before a United Nations climate summit in Paris, France. The administration had been working behind the scenes for months to get countries to sign onto an international climate deal.
Rejecting Keystone came with a cost. VanWyhe noted the huge economic cost of delaying the pipeline for nearly 9 years. A previous AAF report put that cost at $175 billion in lost economic activity from 2008 to 2015.
President Donald Trump reignited the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline after he issued an executive order in January inviting TransCanada to resubmit their application to the State Department.
The State Department approved TransCanada’s application in March, gathering cheers from supporters, but almost immediately drawing legal fire from environmentalists.
Six environmental groups sued the Trump administration over the pipeline’s approval, arguing the project needed to go through another environmental review before it could be approved. They filed suit in a federal court in Montana — one of the states the project will run through.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is nothing more than a dirty and dangerous proposal that’s time has passed,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club — one of the groups suing. “It was rightfully rejected by the court of public opinion and President Obama, and now it will be rejected in the court system.”
Environmentalists also promised to stage protests along the pipeline’s route as it’s being built. Nebraska regulators still have to approve the pipeline’s route, which means more opposition at the state level.
“The Nebraska Public Service Commission must approve the project before any construction can begin,” VanWyhe wrote. “The pipeline has been a hot button issue for Nebraska with activists protesting the construction citing environmental concerns and opposition to the use of eminent domain.”