Published: January 22, 2013
A day after President Barack Obama delivered his Inaugural Address, the news from Nebraska reminds us of another important speech from the president.
Today, Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska announced his approval of a new route for the Keystone XL Pipeline through the state, one designed to avoid environmentally sensitive regions. The governor notified President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a letter (available here); the State Department must approve TransCanada's long-delayed permit because the pipeline would bring oil from the Canadian oil sands south across the international border for U.S. refining. State had delayed an original approval in late 2011 to allow the further Nebraska study. Some commentators suspected electoral considerations, i.e., the desire to avoid a controversial campaign issue.
The governor's announcement brings to mind President Obama's speech delivered at Georgetown University on March 30, 2011, "Remarks by the President on America's Energy Security"
[I] want to announce a new goal, one that is reasonable, one that is achievable, and one that is necessary.
When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third. That is something that we can achieve. (Applause.) We can cut our oil dependence -- we can cut our oil dependence by a third.
I set this goal knowing that we’re still going to have to import some oil. It will remain an important part of our energy portfolio for quite some time, until we’ve gotten alternative energy strategies fully in force. And when it comes to the oil we import from other nations, obviously we’ve got to look at neighbors like Canada and Mexico that are stable and steady and reliable sources.
Obviously. And the best way to do so in the near term is to approve the Keystone pipeline.
Unfortunately, from Reuters, a story that moved after Gov. Heineman's announcement, "State Department delays Keystone pipeline decision"
Statement from TransCanada (excerpt)
"Over the past year, we have been listening to Nebraskans as we worked to identify a new route for the Keystone XL Pipeline that avoided the Sandhills, protected sensitive areas and addressed as many concerns as possible,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “The NDEQ process has clearly taken into account the input from Nebraskans and today’s approval of the Nebraska re-route by Governor Heineman moves us one step closer to Americans receiving the benefits of Keystone XL – the enhanced energy security it will provide and the thousands of jobs it will create.
"The need for Keystone XL continues to grow stronger as North American oil production increases and having the right infrastructure in place is critical to meet the goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil,” concluded Girling.