Counterpoint: ‘Good for Oklahoma’ 

But it’s clear to those who review the project with an objective, fact-based approach that Keystone XL has been fair with landowners in Oklahoma and other states, will strengthen American energy security, is the safest way to deliver petroleum products to Americans, and will generate economic benefits.

Some might get the false impression we are in disputes with the majority of landowners in Oklahoma. That’s hardly true. Our work with landowners in Oklahoma to secure limited easements for the pipeline right of way has been progressing well, with more than 90 percent of all easements in hand.

That’s the record of a company working in good faith to reach an agreement on terms landowners accept.

When discussions with landowners don’t produce an agreement, the U.S.based entity of Keystone XL — not a foreign company, as some falsely claim — is following Oklahoma law, which calls for an independent hearing process to determine fair compensation.

Another myth is the false claim that the oil Keystone XL will deliver to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas will go to China. That’s hard to understand, especially when America imports two-thirds of the oil it needs. Put simply, Keystone XL will deliver American and Canadian crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries to meet U.S. demand. Keystone XL could be part of the solution to higher energy prices and strengthen American energy security.

Keystone XL can replace half of crude oil imports from unreliable offshore sources, create new crude oil sources to Gulf Coast refiners who set the price of gasoline and are vulnerable to supply disruptions, send a powerful message to Canadian producers to continue to bring crude to the U.S. instead of sending it to foreign countries, and reduce the risk of future supply uncertainty that puts upward pressure on crude oil prices.

Environmental concerns about Keystone XL have generated the most confusion. Given their long relationship with pipelines and the oil industry, most Oklahomans know they are the safest and most environmentally responsible way to transport crude oil and petroleum products.

Keystone XL will generate substantial economic benefits. An independent study highlighted Keystone XL’s importance to the economy:

—Construction of Keystone XL will create 20,000 jobs;
—It will create $20 billion in new spending in the U.S. economy;
—In Oklahoma, it will generate $1.2 billion in new spending;
—It will increase personal income of Americans by $6.5 billion, with $874 million for Oklahomans; and
—It will pay more than $25 million in state and local taxes during construction in Oklahoma.

We welcome questions about Keystone XL. We’re confident that when they have the facts, Oklahomans will agree Keystone XL is good for America and good for Oklahoma.

Aitken, manager of stakeholder relations for Keystone Pipeline, has directed the project’s external relations program in Oklahoma for six years. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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Nicole Aitken

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