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. Randy, San Francisco

    Republicans, Tea Partiers, and Obama haters will be left speechless if President Obama gives approval for the construction of the Keystone pipe line.

    May 17, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |

    Experts have already said this will hqve zero impact on oil priced for us, thiis is not our oil, why is the gop pushing so hard to pipe oil trough our country for others use? oil companies will make out big, thats why, have they not sold you out enough yet?

    May 17, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Pete

    Keystone pipeline is just a disaster waiting to happen if run in this country..Go back and see Keystones other debacles like in Kalamazoo,Michigan a pipe broke spilling thousands of gallons of not of toxic but still crude into a nearby river poisoning it for its life,killing fish,foul alike and they're still trying to clean it up ,you want that I don't!!It'll create thousands of jobs for maybe 1 -2 years and it'll be maintained by a small crew until a pipe burst then all hells going to break loose and which one of you is going to step up to take responsibility for it then,not your state governors or your republican reps being paid off by them..Just each state will be held to clean up its own messes and do you tax payers want to be saddled with more problems because others state problems aren't being taken care of as well,not me so you decide, I did and its no to anything Keystone in these states no matter what!!

    May 17, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Tell ya what, you show me legislation that has passed since deep water horizin that will prevent another disaster, and i will believe that the gop and big oil want to act responsibly, never gonna happen!

    May 17, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota:
    Had I tried that stuff .... well, you understand
    LOL! Indeed I do Lynda! My mother was "old school " Dominican! Shoes, belts, WHATEVER was at hand would come either come flying at me or be hand delivered to my hide on the rare (wink!) occassion that I even THOUGHT about stepping out of line.
    God bless her soul!!! LOL!

    May 17, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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