Business owner on Obama tour pushed for Keystone
May 17th, 2013
08:50 AM ET
9 years ago

Business owner on Obama tour pushed for Keystone

(CNN) – When President Barack Obama visits Ellicott Dredges Friday in Baltimore, he'll announce he's signed a presidential memorandum meant to hasten federal permitting processes, thereby creating jobs.

But the owner of the company, Peter Bowe, has another idea for getting Americans to work: approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project Republicans say would create jobs and foster energy independence but some Democrats argue would pose serious environmental risks.

In his testimony Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee, Bowe argued his company, which creates products for dredging the bottom of bodies of water, stands to benefit if the pipeline is finally approved.

"The oil sands in Alberta are one of the largest markets worldwide for dredging equipment," Bowe said in prepared testimony before the agriculture, energy and trade subcommittee, which was first reported by the website Buzzfeed.

"For us, it's all about jobs, not construction jobs for the pipeline itself, but ongoing jobs every year for decades to come, all related to the production of oil from the Alberta oil sands deposits," Bowe continued. "This oil needs the Keystone pipeline."

The Obama administration initially rejected a permit for a portion of the Keystone pipeline in January 2012 after Nebraska's governor, a Republican, complained it would cross the vital Ogallala Aquifer in his state.

While the entire 1,700 mile pipeline was not approved, Obama in March 2012 moved to fast-track the southern portion of the pipeline that runs from Oklahoma to the Gulf. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, began construction on that portion in August.

Opponents of the northern leg say there's too high a risk for potential water and soil contamination from the 500,000 to 700,000 barrels of crude oil that would traverse the pipeline each day. Critics also say the type of oil from the tar sands would release more greenhouse gases than the average transportation fuels sold or distributed in the United States.

A recent report by the State Department said the 800-mile Keystone pipeline expansion should have no significant effect on the environment along its proposed route, causing supporters to ratchet up pressure on Obama to approve it.

While Obama has not yet taken a position on the pipeline, his administration is expected to issue a decision on expanding the project in coming months.

"We urge you to approve the Keystone pipeline as expeditiously as possible," Bowe said in his testimony, noting that oil from Canada would be superior both politically and environmentally than a product from other countries like Venezuela.

Obama will visit Ellicott Dredges after touring an elementary school in Baltimore, and after his stop at the company will head to a community center.

Filed under: Energy • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Don't do it!

    May 17, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. J'Cincinnai'Redd

    Obama, just does not get it. we have a chance to unlock a black gold rush and its under our feet. we have a chance to put young men back to work so they can afford wives and have a family's.just the boost we need. Look i love birds and beavers and all of the beautiful bugs and rats.but you what? I love people more,as a country we need this.lets all come together and drill baby drill!

    May 17, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    This President doesn't WANT jobs. This President wants to destroy America from within, and he is succeeding!

    May 17, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. Sheila

    when they finish building that corporate jet hanger in texas – there will be the largest hiring event in the history of this country. Those big shots aren't travelling to texas, to play footsies, ya know ! no wonder all the people in the rust belt states are moving to the southern states !!

    May 17, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Obama doesn't have the stones to alienate the tree huggers in his base... even though it's the correct thing to do.

    May 17, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Bubba Einstein

    Push "Create Jobs" bills. Ask for Roll call votes so everyone is responsible. Let congress decide their fate, whether they want to help this country or lose the next election.

    May 17, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Ferret out the BS

    The pipeline is important but also is the environment. There have been at least two pipeline spills since the BP Horizon disaster and both did a lot of damage. We need to get better at building these pipelines, we need to protect our environment as well and not rush to get these in place until it is safe to do so from pipeline to wetlands.

    May 17, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Obama doesn't have the stones to alienate the tree huggers in his base... even though it's the correct thing to do."

    Your comment might have had a more harsh anti-Obama impact if the party you support hadn't spent the past 10 years trying not to alienate the Limbaugh, the Hannity, and the Beck fan club members.

    May 17, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. Texas JB

    I would be more willing to accept the Keystone Pipeline project if the supporters would be willing to offer guarantees. For example, guarantees that the oil flowing through the pipeline would be used to reduce fuel prices in the U.S. Or, guarantees that the project would create X number of long-term jobs. Or, guarantees that any environmental problems are isolated and cleaned up quickly.

    I have heard a lot about all the benefits that could come from this pipeline, but I have also heard there are no guarantees they would be recognized. Some say the jobs will only be temporary and only number about a couple thousand. Some say the oil would be shipped overseas and not benefit the U.S. Wouldn't it be nice if the supporters of the project could offer some assurances that we would see the benefits?

    May 17, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Larry in Houston

    Thanks Lynda ! I guess between You & Dominican & sniffit, I don't have to type much ! Thanks again ! I'd rather read anyway !! LOL

    May 17, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    The Northern leg was delayed after the GOP governor of NB stated concerns over the contamination of the aquifer: you know, the source of water for people and agriculture in the region. The State Department has since concluded there would be no significant environmental damage if the Northern leg of the pipeline were constructed. In other words, due diligence to the long term effects of construction on humans was paid, rather than making a decision that could affect the health of the human population of the region for generations. To put it simply, it was a prudent delay, but that, as usual, does not seem to penetrate the blinkered minds of the Right. Its ironic that people who are so obcessed with our children ignore the concept of cause-and -effect: namely, what we do now will have consequences, and are those consequences worth it? I guess if you dangle a dollar bill in front of a rightie, that's all the justification they need to poison their grandkids.

    May 17, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I like the environment more than I like cheap gas. Not to mention that my Chevy Volt says the Keystone Pipeline can kiss it's bumper stickers(Obama/Biden 2012)

    May 17, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    I appreciate your comment Tom Paine. I have watched one of the major lakes in Minnesota - a lake that I have swam in, fished in, boated in, and overall enjoyed for the past 55 years - become nothing more than a cess pool filled with sewage, pestisides, garbage, and slime filled fertilizer. I hate that my grandchildren refuse to swim in this lake, or that I no longer feel comfortable eating the wonderful walleyes and northern pike my family and I so enjoy "catching" and for the past 10 years now, releasing.

    And as you stated, the justification for poisoning their grandkids surely shouldn't be justification for poisoning my grandkids. I am absolutely concerned with the air I breathe, the water I drink, and the food I eat. More so when I think of what MY grandkids will have to endure 20 years down this disastrous line of pollution we as a society have inflicted on ourselves and the right is so willing to ignore.

    May 17, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. RonSwanson

    If you look at the facts, JCinncinatil'Redd, oil won't last forever. This oil will only last us for a few years, and yet will the jobs still be there? No. Why not create jobs on green energy that ill literally last forever?

    May 17, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. PJ

    "Obama doesn't have the stones to alienate the tree huggers in his base................"
    Playing the 'tree hugger' card just shows a total lack of understanding of the devastation that can be caused
    by any oil spill, anywhere at any time, even after the Gulf Coast spill.
    Texas JB is absolutely right. Assurances are not given, because none can be.
    Call me a tree hugger and I will gladly say, you are right.
    If it is wrong to want clean air, water, and all of the things that sustain life, I'm guilty. If we don't take care
    of our environment, nothing else will matter, because we cannot survive without them.
    We were not told to be stewards of the Earth for nothing.

    May 17, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Bessy

    I really wish that people would actually check out their facts before they blog on this site. The Keystone Pipeline benefits no one in this country. Jobs are temporary, fuel goes to China and India and the environment is damaged. So, knowing all that, does it sound like a good thing for us ? Duh !!

    May 17, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. much thunder..little rain

    jobs ...please...let people go to keystone

    May 17, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Data Driven

    Homework: somebody get an estimate from a nonpartisan source of how many actual jobs would be created by this pipeline. A nonpartisan source, mind you - WSJ and NYT Opinion Pages don't count. Then, get the aggregate estimate of how much environmental damage the pipeline is likely to incur, based on scientific measurements. Finally, determine if this temporary work is worth the perhaps less-than-temporary damage.

    Oh what's the point. I have a conservative pal who thinks he's playfully getting on my nerves by choosing plastic over paper at the grocery store.

    May 17, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. under the radar

    Why are people so intent on saying the pipeline will make energy independence for America when the oil is Canadian being shipped to growing markets in the Far East and Asia. Oil companies don't care about creating jobs. They only care about profit.

    May 17, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/ Minnesota
    Your comment might have had a more harsh anti-Obama impact if the party you support hadn't spent the past 10 years trying not to alienate the Limbaugh, the Hannity, and the Beck fan club members
    -------------------------------------------------Babe you beat me to it!
    Although I don't fish or do the whole nature thingy, I too am concerned about the insidious ever-increasing toll via pollution, p[esticides etc that we're inflicting on some of our most beautiful landscapes, beaches, lakes, and forests.

    May 17, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Peoples State of Illinois


    "Obama doesn't have the stones to alienate the tree huggers in his base................"
    Playing the 'tree hugger' card ......
    No different than the "race" card being thrown when someone disagrees with a policy advocated by this administration.

    May 17, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. PJ

    "No different than the 'race card'..............
    Mixing apples and oranges – like I said- total lack of understanding............

    May 17, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. Wilson

    Hmmm, I am normally a little right of center in my politics. This is a case where I veer a little left. The oil is canadian and will go on the world market. Will have no affect on the energy independence of the US. The only way I couild be for this pipeline would be if the oil was kept in north america for our use. Thereby keeping all the jobs here and permanently, rather than the temporary jobs created under the present plan.

    May 17, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama "Although I don't fish or do the whole nature thingy,"

    Now you got me laughing again, girlfriend. I was raised in a family of all males (well, except for my grandmother and mother, that is). Twenty seven all told. Brothers, cousins, uncles ... all male. I either joined in the fun or spent my days in solitary confinement. God truly blessed me with three daughters, although I readily admit I didn't "get" alot of the histrionics my daughters threw at me growing up. Had I tried that stuff .... well, you understand.

    May 17, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |

    Let me answer why guest, because that is yet another lie your trying to con people with, the one responsible was a gop, truth does hurt huh? thats why you never tell it.

    May 17, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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