AED, construction associations to Obama: ‘Approve the Keystone XL pipeline project’

Sixteen national construction associations and unions joined Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) on Jan. 12 in calling on the Obama administration to swiftly approve the Keystone XL pipeline project, according to AED.

Under legislation enacted in December 2011, President Obama has until Feb. 21 to make a decision about whether to grant a permit for the project, which would transport Canadian crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries, according to AEM. If Obama does not act, the permit will be granted as a matter of law, AEM says. Supporters are urging the administration to approve the project before the deadline so it can proceed without delay, the organization says.

In a Jan. 12 letter to the White House coordinated by AED, organizations representing construction contractors, workers, and suppliers said that, “[by] bringing an extra 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, the pipeline would reduce U.S. reliance on energy resources from less stable regions, create American jobs, and enhance our national security.”

The coalition pointed to recent volatility in the Persian Gulf related to Iran’s nuclear program as further evidence of the need to tap into new energy resources. “With the pipeline, our crude imports from Canada could reach four million barrels a day by 2020, twice what we currently import from the Persian Gulf,” the coalition states in the letter. The group also highlighted the economic benefits of the project, including creation of an estimated 20,000 jobs, 13,000 of which would be in the construction sector which has still not recovered from the recent recession.

“There’s a clear consensus, not just within the construction industry, but among business and labor organizations as well, that Keystone is critical to the long-term health of the U.S. economy,” said AED President and CEO Toby Mack in a press release from AED. “We hope President Obama will green-light the project immediately so we can put Americans to work while securing our energy independence.”