Bill Clinton on Keystone XL pipeline: 'Embrace' it
By DARIUS DIXON and DAN BERMAN | 2/29/12 1:46 PM EST
Bill Clinton says it's time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Speaking at an Energy Department conference in Maryland on Wednesday, the former president said he was surprised the project has gotten as gummed up as it has, laying the blame on pipeline builder TransCanada.
"One of the most amazing things to me about this Keystone pipeline deal is that they ever filed that route in the first place since they could've gone around the Nebraska Sandhills and avoided most of the dangers, no matter how imagined, to the Ogallala [aquifer] with a different route, which I presume we'll get now, because the extra cost of running is infinitesimal compared to the revenue that will be generated over a long period of time," he said.
"So, I think we should embrace it and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work," Clinton added.
TransCanada this week said it would begin building a section of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast and reapply for a new permit for the remainder of the project.
Meanwhile, Clinton said he worries that increased domestic oil and natural gas production could allow many in the U.S. to lose interest in investing in other, newer cleaner forms of energy.
"There are some hazards to the innovation project, right now. We have massive new recovery technologies in oil and gas which could lead us down the primrose path of thinking [that] we don't have to keep using less energy and developing clean energy and technologies," he said.
"A lot of people are saying, 'Let's just go for this and nothing else,'" he said, after discussing the oil production in places like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.
Clinton added: "The recent spike in gas prices reminds us of the fragility of relying on just the way we used to do things, not the increasingly apparent cost of fossil fuels on our health and our ecosystem."
In projections released last month, the Energy Information Administration forecast that net petroleum imports will shrink to 36 percent of total U.S. liquid fuel consumption by 2035. That's down from 49 percent in 2010 and well below the peak of 60 percent reached in 2005. That news came two months after the EIA reported that 2011 was likely to see the U.S. become a net exporter of petroleum products — including gasoline and jet fuel — for the first time in 62 years.
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