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Keystone XL Pipeline Gets House Approval

Written by Sandy Williams

The House of Representatives passed legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The project has been delayed for more than five years while seeking presidential approval for the line to cross the U.S./Canada border.

The House voted 252-161-1 in support of the pipeline. The Senate will vote on Tuesday and will need 60 votes to pass the measure. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La), who spearheaded the recent push for the Keystone XL, believes the 60 votes are obtainable. There is still the question, however, whether the President will veto the measure if it passes the Senate.

President Obama, in a press conference in Myanmar said he wants the review by the State Department to be completed. “My position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,” he said.

“Understand what this project is: It is a providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices,” said the President. “If my Republican friends really want to focus on what’s good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy. I’m happy to have that conversation.”

TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard told Globe and Mail that Keystone XL pipeline will carry crude from both Alberta and the U.S. Bakken field and is clearly in the U.S. national interest. “American refineries need the oil that we will transport – from both Canadian and American oil fields – to create products that we all rely on,” he said.

The vote was applauded by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) who cited the positive impact construction of the pipeline will have in the U.S. “The Keystone XL pipeline will have substantial benefits to the economic and energy future of the U.S.,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “Completing it will help create more than 42,000 jobs nationwide and $2 billion in new economic growth. This pipeline is an opportunity for President Obama to show leadership and commitment to our nation’s energy independence and job creation. If the Administration is serious about creating jobs, here is an easy way to do it,”

“Steel products play a significant role in the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as other key energy projects. Steel pipe and tube products form the essential infrastructure for producing oil and gas natural resources, transmitting them to processers, and then getting them to final customers. Pipelines have long been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and well- regulated ways to move crude oil and petroleum products and should remain an important part of the nation’s energy infrastructure,” he said.

Evraz North America, which has made more than 550 miles of pipe for the Keystone XL pipeline, expressed their pleasure at the House vote in a statement on Friday.

“We are very pleased that the House has once again approved Keystone XL,” said Conrad Winkler, the company’s President and CEO. “The pipeline will benefit North America in numerous well-documented ways, including the creation of thousands of valuable jobs and needed increased energy supplies.”

“We are optimistic that the Senate will follow suit when a similar bill comes up for vote on Tuesday,” added Winkler. “Keystone XL has undergone a lengthy review process over the past six years by the federal government. The State Department has concluded that the project, with its revised route, would create substantial economic benefits, while having minimal environmental impact. It’s time to finally allow this project to be completed.”

In a recent Steel Market Update article, TransCanada told SMU that 35,000 tons of steel products will be purchased from North American mills and manufacturers for construction of the pipeline.

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