Policy: Environment & Energy

Keystone XL's southern leg pumped billions into Texas and Oklahoma, so what's Obama waiting for on the northern link?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,Institute for Energy Research,Oklahoma,Texas,Keystone XL,Energy and Environment,Oil

President Obama has delayed making a decision on whether to approve construction of the northern leg of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline for nearly six years.

Meanwhile, the recently completed southern leg of the pipeline, which connects the huge pipeline storage hub in Cushing, Okla., with Gulf Coast refineries in Texas and Louisiana, has pumped billions of dollars into the regional economy.

That flow of investment has also sparked creation of thousands of new jobs, especially in Oklahoma and Texas, according to an economic impact study.

Wide and deep

The study by the Consumer Energy Alliance found completion of the southern leg of Keystone involved:

• $2.3 billion in private-sector investment.

• Six modern pump stations.

• More than 11 million hours of labor completed by 4,844 workers in the United States of America -- heavy equipment operators, welders, laborers, transportation operators and supervisory personnel (including environment, safety and quality control inspectors).

• More than 50 contracts with U.S. manufacturers and companies building the pipeline and equipment in locations that include: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

• The manufacturing of more than 485 miles of high-strength, advanced oil pipeline (36-inch diameter); hundreds of large valves; thousands of fittings; thousands of pieces of equipment used to build transformers, meters, electric motors, cabling and electrical equipment; and piping assembling and structural steel for supports.

• About 2.25 million barrels of new oil storage capacity at Cushing, Okla.

Beaucoup bucks

An estimated $5.7 billion was pumped into the Oklahoma ($2.1 billion) and Texas ($3.6 billion) economies by the construction, according to the study.

That included significant spending in 24 counties in the two states that are considered low-income areas, as well as some $72 million in new tax revenues.

"Building the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline can do the same for the northern states if only the president would approve the permit which he has delayed for almost 6 years for political reasons," the Institute for Energy Research said.

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