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Legion disappointed over pipeline denial

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Legion disappointed over pipeline denial
Photo courtesy of TransCanada Corporation

With the unemployment rate among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan exceeding 13 percent, the head of the nation’s largest veterans organization expressed "deep disappointment" that President Obama denied a permit request for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

"This project would not only have provided thousands of shovel-ready jobs at a time when our economy desperately needs them, it would have reduced America’s dependence on oil exports from the Middle East," said American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong.

"This isn’t just an economic issue, but a national security issue as well," Wong pointed out. "Iran is threatening naval traffic in the Strait of Hormuz and piracy continues to be a problem. With gas prices again approaching $4 a gallon, this project is clearly in America’s interest."

The $7 billion privately funded pipeline would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, the Dakotas, Montana and Oklahoma to Gulf Coast refineries. It has undergone years of environmental review but must be approved by the State Department since it would cross an international border. The oil would be extracted from Canada’s tar sands.

Last summer, delegates to The American Legion’s 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis passed Resolution 107, which urges all segments of the U.S. government to pursue and grant all required permits for the proposed pipeline "without further delay."

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., shared his disappointment with the president’s decision in a statement to Bloomberg News. "The studying time is done," Lugar said. "The environmental concerns have been addressed. The job creation, economic and energy-security arguments are overwhelmingly in favor of building it. The president opposing pipeline construction is not in the best interest of the United States."

The president’s rejection still leaves the door open for the company funding the project, TransCanada Corp., to re-apply once a new route is established.

"We hope that this project is not dead, but only delayed," Wong added. "While we feel it is needed now, the administration must find a way to address our economic needs and security concerns as soon as possible."

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proxy64

February 24, 2012 - 9:02am

1. The Merits Of the KeyStone XL Pipeline It appears that most of the comments are based on bottom down logic. Here is what someone that knows the facts and is very close to the issue had to say: Gov. Heineman Disappointed in President Obama's Decision to Deny Pipeline Permit January 18, 2012, 5:10 p.m. CT (Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today issued the following statement following the announcement by President Obama’s administration to deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Gov. Dave Heineman said, “I am very disappointed with the actions of President Obama and his decision to deny a jobs-creating pipeline, leaving thousands of Americans unnecessarily unemployed. President Obama should be focused on putting Americans back to work, and could have done so by issuing conditional approval of the pipeline. Approval of the pipeline would have allowed TransCanada to move forward with the project while Nebraska finished the review process of a new segment of the route around the Sandhills. The President’s decision is disruptive and we are now going to review in detail what this means for Nebraska.” A lot of the opinions expressed here appear to be full of more chit then the current 30” KeyStone pipeline that has been operating for 2 years. 2. Legion Disappointed Over Pipeline Denial I sure do not have a problem with the Legion fighting for jobs that veterans desperately need. When I returned from Viet Nam, I was fortunate to have a job waiting for me. I was on a military leave of absence from US Steel. However, I was an exception. A lot of returning veterans struggled to make ends meet which is still the case.

florida72

February 2, 2012 - 3:44pm

I agree with many others who have commented. My first impression when I saw this headline was, "What??" Don't speak for me! Furthermore I don't believe The American Legion has any business passing sweeping resolutions like Resolution 107. I have to take issue with the statement that this is a national security issue. It is not. Not much of the oil refined from the pipeline will be used by the U.S. It will be shipped overseas. The Midwest is oversupplied with refined oil, so Keystone XL wants to get the oil to the Gulf Coast refineries because the vast majority of that oil is shipped overseas. Keystone XL’s Permit Application says that in plain English. President Obama rejected it because it “could not be adequately reviewed within the 60-day deadline set by Congress.” Republicans in Congress inserted the provision in the temporary payroll tax cut bill passed in December and gave the Administration only until Feb. 21 to decide. This is a purely political way of trying to force something through, and should not be tolerated by any American. Sen. Richard Lugar says, "the studying time is done,". Unfortunately, he is trying to ignore or distort the fact that the studies didn't come out to his liking.

proxy64

February 24, 2012 - 9:13am

......or not. Don't ya thing if the need arised for national security reasons the oil would be retained in the USA.

larryschupp

January 25, 2012 - 6:46pm

"Legion disappointed over pipeline denial" would appear to be in great error as a headline since it is apparently not Legion members who were disappointed, but our 'Supreme Commander' who did not even bother to find out how Legion members feel. He certainly doesn't represent or speak for me. It is good to know that I am not alone among our membership.

Army Gal

January 23, 2012 - 6:07pm

Why is the AL even expressing an opinion. Stay out of the politics! The oil is being sold to China. Check your facts before you publish,

Michael Robinson

January 22, 2012 - 6:41pm

The Keystone Pipeline has no relationship whatsoever to the mission of the American Legion. The American Legion needs to focus on veterans issues and the pipeline construction along with even with a potential increase jobs at Gulf Coast refineries will potentially employ an extremely small percentage of veterans. When the Legion begins to drift off base from its central mission the organization loses its focus and potentially allies. The Legion has a tendency to take a more conservative tack on many issues it has no business being involved with. There are more important veterans issues that need to be addressed. Veterans unemployment is a major issue, however the Legion becoming involved it what is obviously a very heated political issue will not make a hill of beans worth of difference in reducing overall unemployment of veterans. The Legion needs to aggressively push at the local and state levels the issue of veterans unemployment. How many local Legion Posts are aggressively addressing this issue? I would hazard a guess not many. It is time for the Legion family to put pressure on both the private and public sectors to hire veterans now. The Obama Administration and Congress have provided the tools for private employers to do this. The question is do they know the programs exist. Who better to tell them than local Legion members. Finally when it comes to veterans employment issues with the public sector,it is time for the Legion to demand that Congress close all of the loopholes in the special veterans employment laws such as VRA and VEOA. Close the gaps that exist in the section of Title 38 regarding special hiring authorities that all federal government agencies not only can use, but should be required to use. As President Obama along with President George W. Bush have both made clear, if the veteran has comparable qualifications then a federal government agency should hire the veteran. Trust me from experience in attempting to obtain employment with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs that does not happen. Stick to your mission Legion and allow the state of Nebraska insure that water in the Ogalala Aquifer not become polluted due to an oil pipeline.

Hodge Williams

January 21, 2012 - 9:50pm

You know when the work is finished, the job is over. Colorado shale oil was the rage of synfuels in the 70's. Occidental left when the SynFuels Profit Tax ran out. They employed very select shaft miners and surface engineers from California. Occidental drew a $1 Billion pocket full of tax credits in 1977 dollars. They left in the night. Dried up all the Piceance Creek Springs my family has depended on for the past 100 years. The Gassers recently punched holes across Western Colorado. Other than maintaining the Pipelines headed East, most folks here are now on food stamps. If you believe a gas pipe is in your best interest. Look out. We need the energy yes, The energy didn't stay in Colorado. There was little local benefits.

phoenician88

January 21, 2012 - 1:37pm

#1 this as all business projects is for the benefit of multinational corporate profits NOT American anything #2 the vote was a political trap for the president as the project asked for carte blanche authority and had not been properly vetted and was not (yet) in compliance with existing legal requirements #3 The new US top export is petroleum products #4 Domestic petroleum products are now shipped offshore for higher profit than domestic consumption would produce and concomitantly more imports are then needed which fetch an additional higher profit margin for the energy companies because energy market pricing is now global #5 Since we must face a global energy market in absence of any legislation requiring domestically produced energy to be sold primarily in the US or in NAFTA, then the most cost efficient means of getting the products to market, not the one that produces more temporary jobs with higher delivery costs, is likely the best solution

BP55

January 20, 2012 - 6:59pm

The Legion would do better working on getting rid of NAFTA. Thats what killed the jobs in America.

larryschupp

January 25, 2012 - 6:37pm

NAFTA? I don't think so. The jobs weren't lost because of NAFTA. They were shipped much farther offshore, to China, India, Pakistan, etc. And the people who sent them there are the same ones running our banks & multinational corporations while giving millions to their handpicked Republican candidates. Nothing to do with NAFTA.

460Racer

January 20, 2012 - 2:27pm

As soldiers we are taught to listen to our leaders and go blindly forward. As a society we live in a democracy and as citizens we have the right to demand an explanation of our leaders motivations. I too am concerned that the American Legion has chosen to express a biased statement of disappointment of the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline permit. I know that the majority of the Republican base was in favor of the pipeline construction on the basis it will create jobs. Most Democrats don’t seem to be convinced of the claimed benefits. I would like to know exactly where the money in this project will go. Has anyone defined and guaranteed any of the job projections? Has anyone defined and guaranteed the amount of revenue that is proposed to be brought into the US? This is not the oil company’s first “rodeo”, so they must be able to accurately know the minimum cost and be able to guarantee it to us. How many jobs and for how long and how much revenue. The majority of the oil will be sent to the refineries on the south Texas coast which is convenient for export. Will the oil company sign a contract to guarantee that all oil in the pipeline will be used in the US? Will the US get that oil at world market value, or will we get it at a reduced price? Since this is such a politically polarized issue I think citizens should be informed of the details so we can understand motivations. Where is the money, where is it going and why? As intelligent citizens we should not choose sides on this matter until we see some written guarantees. Opinions are unacceptable when billions of dollars are involved and risks exist..

DeBrew

January 20, 2012 - 12:21pm

Perhaps the Legion should not be involved here. Maybe there would only be short-term, minimal jobs created for Vets, but most of the proposed "shovel ready jobs" are like that. I just find it curious that we are calling a business/energy/jobs debate a political debate. Did you know that the drilling moratorium in the Gulf put 10's of thousands out of work. Is that a political problem, an energy problem, an environmental problem or a jobs problem? Whether or not you support the pipeline, the oil is being processed and will flow south. My guess is that it will now have to be transported via Warren Buffett's Railroad (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation). Maybe it is just coincidence that Obama's big supporter owns the only railroad that has routes from Canada to the Gulf. As the price of fuel goes up, railways become the more cost/energy efficient way to transport goods. By the way, I read the daily DHS Infrastructure report that you can download from the DHS.gov website. There are far more rail incidents listed than pipeline spills. Talking about clean energy, I like the idea of solar panels to get off the grid. But do you know that there is more damage done to the environment during the building and processing of solar panels than what we get from fossil fuels. I don't like pollution and I am a big proponent of reuse/recycle. We do need to discover ways, as mentioned above, to deliver fuel/energy in a cleaner more environmentally friendly manner. However, I like being able to afford to put food on my table, a roof over my head that I can heat/cool, and gas in my tank. I have two grandkids, and I would like for them to be able to afford these things as well. If these energy/environmental policies continue, they will not be able to have the same quality of life as I have had. What kind of life am I leaving for my grandkids by supporting these restrictive policies? Semper Fi!

Godsped1

January 20, 2012 - 10:09am

In the the first place, the jobs would be minimal and why would you want all of the coming to the U.S. to be processed in one area of the country. Strategic mistake. Also,why do we continue to sell a portion of are oil to China?

maw2078826

January 20, 2012 - 9:56am

I cannot believe the numbskull comments being posted here. It appears most have stock in oil and like getting robbed at the pump. I'm sure the Wall Street SPECULATORS who are jacking-up the price of crude at their every whim are enjoying these "tree hugger" comments as well! Wake up people!...the sooner we get away from imported crude the better. The SPECULATORS (who set the price) cannot use the "jitters" excuse (among many) to raise crude prices every time a 9mm bullet is fired in the Middle East if it is produced here. The same issues were also brought up by the "tree-huggers" when the Alaskan pipe line was proposed...which was UNWARRANTED as well. As a Veteran I applaud the American legion for their stand.

rdlcherry

January 20, 2012 - 8:21pm

Here here.

H A W

January 20, 2012 - 9:42am

I know where they can put there pipe! It would not take much of a change to pipe to Vancouver BC and ship oil to China.

stantons

January 20, 2012 - 8:11am

The Legion should ONLY lobby on issues DIRECTLY AND IMMEDIATELY affecting veterans, NOT on MORE DISTANT, INDIRECT topics, like the pipeline. I shall restrain my emotions, and simply say I oppose the pipeline, but whether FOR or AGAINST, the involvement of the Legion in this and other INDIRECT topics is UNWARRANTED!

tankturret12

January 20, 2012 - 6:47am

I understand what everyone is saying about this pipeline on each side of the isle. But I watched Hillary Clinton on the news on Thursday afternoon and she stated that the oil that would flow to the refineries in the gulf coast area will "ALMOST ALL GO OVERSEAS AS INTENDED" !! With that being said by Hillary it seems to me that there are more issues involved with this project that the average American just haven't been informed about. This is not unusual for the American people to not get the "truth and nothing but the whole truth" about the issues on this pipelines details !!! You can bet your a$$ we are not hearing everything and it is because both political parties are playing thier darn games as usual !!! So in a few weeks or even a couple months maybe details of the issues will begin to leak out and reasons for decisions will also come to lite as well by both political parties !! NOTHING NEW HEAR PEOPLE, JUST THE SAME OLD GAME AT OUR EXPENSE !!!

powervet

January 20, 2012 - 4:48am

I work in the power generation industry. I am part of a team working on new technology which burns the traditionally dirtiest fuels in the world and we can burn them with the fewest emmisions ever recorded by any fossel fuel power generating plant. We can do it reliably as well. For the past ten years, we with a grant From the DOE, have accomplised just that Reliable, affordable, clean energy. Even though we have accomplished so much in so little time, We are contanting striving to improve and diversify our fuel sources to include biomass to relieve the strain on our landfills, such as burning off the gasses prodes by landfills and burning tree trimmings as well. Saddly enough, we have also been able to trim the work force as we became more proffient at reducing equipment failure. I do not know much about the politics of this subject, But I can testify to the fact, we have enough energy in the counrty to supply ourselve for a very long time.

swisher7

January 20, 2012 - 12:38am

Obama is only interested in keeping his liberal base happy. If you want $10.00/gal gasoline vote the Dem's back in for a second term.

Bobbyjames

January 21, 2012 - 3:14pm

And why did gas prices soar during Bush's reign - to keep his conservative base happy or to fill his and Cheney's pockets with plenty of cash?

Casinoprop

January 20, 2012 - 12:34am

We are so dependent on oil we can't see straight. This pipeline would cause more pollution and more damage for our great-great-grandchildren to deal with. The demand for green energy continues to rise and that is where our focus should be. I hope this project DIES.

JackB

January 19, 2012 - 11:55pm

I didn't know that I belonged to an organization that took political stands on issues that are really have little if anything to do with the real issues the American Legion should be concerned about. Temporary jobs are not as important as the aquifer that provides the water my region of the country can ill afford to have polluted. I suppose the American Legion is also in favor of subterranean cracking to get gas although it is clear that pollution and earthquakes may and have resulted from same. American Legion should stay out of political arguments that are unrelated to what our organization is really all about. If one says it is a matter of national defense I just ask ok why didn't we already have it and prove that it is really an issue vital to our national defense. with

hofbat

January 19, 2012 - 10:27pm

As a Vietnam Vet, I find it disgusting that the Legion chooses to take a stance on an issue involving oil imported from Canada, to be piped to the gulf, and then shipped overseas. What does that have to do with serving us veterans?! I'm strongly against paying any other country, including the Canucks, for their oil - especially crappy oil that requires an intensive amount of energy just to extract a barrel. The Legion's going to lose a lot of supporters if this continues...

MacMurray

January 19, 2012 - 7:51pm

In 2008 candidate Obama said that under his plan energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket." This action takes him one step closer to that goal. Incidentally, most of the electric generating plants in this country run on coal, which is about 30% more "dirty" than oil.

RWILLIS

January 19, 2012 - 7:31pm

If you don't want to be a part of the "Republican Bully Pulpit", go away. You probably aren't a vet anyway. Sniveling isn't allowed.

J4045

March 1, 2012 - 7:28pm

Who are you to hijack the Legion for your own political gains? The Legion is supposed to be apolitical and its mission is to support Veterans and their issues. You are being manipulated by the rich and are not even aware. Who says being a Republican and a vet are the same? Same right-wing BS.

IamAmazed

January 19, 2012 - 8:10pm

You should not question folks if they are a vet or not and give us a good reason why the Legion should be taking up with any political party. FYI - I am a vet

joec4491

January 19, 2012 - 6:15pm

Environmental issues must be addressed, but the pipeline should be re-routed, permits issued, and it should be built as quickly as possible. Ship to port or ship to refinery, more oil on the market means more pressure to keep prices stable, and that's fine in my book.

Moonwink

January 19, 2012 - 6:03pm

Like GWW, I question the Legion's legitimacy in involving itself in this matter. I thought the American Legion Charter said this organization to be apolitical and not favor either party however all I read on this website is anti-Obama inflammatory hatred. This organization should run by Veterans for Veterans and stay out of the politics and hatred tearing this nation apart with a lot of phony flag waving.

wdktx4304

January 19, 2012 - 5:51pm

The first stoppage on this project cost me an $80K a year job. I hope that if it gets started again, I can go back to work Vietnam Veteran

Stephan R. Hanna

January 19, 2012 - 5:49pm

This issue is not about some temp jobs that pay too little to matter. The real issue is the amount of real and permanent damage being done to the earth. All anyone needs to do to see that is Google "tar sands." Just look at the images. Only an idiot would say that that was doing any kind of good.

dfinpa

January 19, 2012 - 5:45pm

The number of construction jobs is far less than the politicos are pontificating over and for a relatively short duration of 2.5 years. Apparently the Legion buys into Big Oil's talking points. Tar Sands oil is just about the dirtiest energy product going. Canada is going to produce it with or without a pipeline, so there's no point going on about that any further. The Keystone XL pipeline is more about getting oil to a port rather than a refinery or storing it for use in the U.S. Eventually the pipeline is most likely going to be built, but it should be routed away from critical aquifers and the sensitive Sandhill area of Nebraska. We can't afford another Horizon type disaster, and routing the pipeline as it is now is just inviting that to happen. We are eventually all going to die off. What legacy are we leaving our grandchildren? I for one would like to see them be able to enjoy wildlife and nature the way I have. Destroying area after area in pursuit of profits and "jobs"--the convenient panacea being used far too often to justify bad ideas--just doesn't seem right to me.

qasas67

January 19, 2012 - 5:43pm

20,000 jobs or 10,000 jobs - it's always some slight of hand to come up with numbers. BLUF - it's put a bunch of folks to work, both directly and indirectly, and that we need. We don't need to be seeing the Canadians selling to the Chineese. Let the Chineese deal with the Arabians for oil. We'll keep in all amongst friends in the Americas. And, I remember the hulabaloo that went on when the Alaska pipeline was proposed and being build. All the caribu were going to be killed off, the premafost would all be melted, and the ecology of Alaska would be ruined forever. Of all the pipelines that cris-cross the US of A right now, how many major oil spills has there been??

Remlap

January 20, 2012 - 8:20pm

qasas67. Evidently you weren't around in July of 2010 when Michigan aZnPfhad the largest oil spill in mid west history. 800,000 gallons of oil was spilled. Go talk to the people of Kalamazoo Michigan about oil spills.

JB76

January 19, 2012 - 5:06pm

As the commander says the pipeline is hopefully just delayed, this is just politics. The pipeline company has already said they have a way around that aquifer. They will resubmit and I'm hoping then be approved.

Remlap

January 19, 2012 - 5:06pm

What rock are living under? Now that is the most asinine comment. Tar Sands are the dirtiest of all the ways to get oil. I dare you to take a drive up to Nebraska and talk to the people who will most effected by this pipe line. Obviously the representative from Ind. Mr. Lugar didn't listen to his constituents only to his campaign fund people. How many oil leaks , how many pipeline breaks does it take to convince you that a few temporary jobs will not answer our energy problem. Nobody listened to President Carter in the seventies when he put in environmental regulations to try to get off the dependence of middle east oil. Mr Reagan came in and poo pooed his concern and said not to worry. Took away all his legislation and the solar panels off the white house. That was over thirty years ago. Just imagine if they had listen , what we could have done in those thirty years. Awake up people.

hch0944

January 20, 2012 - 6:52pm

I totally agree with remlap. This is a potential environment problem for the people of the midwest. If they accept a pipeline that could destroy their water source, then they should not come back to the Federal Gov't with hat in hand. Also the American Legion leadership should keep there hands off politically senstive issues that do not involve the welfare of veterans.

JB76

January 19, 2012 - 5:05pm

As the commander says the pipeline is hopefully just delayed, this is just politics. The pipeline company has already said they have a way around that aquifer. They will resubmit and I'm hoping then be approved.

jmoore417

January 19, 2012 - 4:44pm

This should not surprise anyone that the current administration would deny this. With the amount of money they have given to solar energy companies they need to see the price of energy skyrocket so solar is competitive. We are not drilling in the waters around our country either. Everything to due with oil or nuclear is too "risky" to them. Do you think this group is going to change their policies if they are voted back into DC?

cjones1688

January 21, 2012 - 6:34pm

They give realitively little to solar companies and most of that is in the form of government subsidized loans that they have to pay back. The oil companies however get in the neighborhood of 60-150 billion in tax payer subsidies every year so that gas prices in this country are cheaper than they should be. If oil was unsubsidized the price of gas would be double what you are paying now. Stop listening to the news and their inaccurate reporting. Look the numbers up for yourself in the federal budget report. Conventional extracted oil has a energy return on energy investment of around 50 while the tar sands oil in Canada has an energy return on energy investment of around 6 and Solar has an energy return on energy investment of around 10-15 depending on location. Plus we are at peak oil the best the tar sands are going to do is delay it a couple of years. This was the only move the White House could make that makes financial sense for this country.

tjs

January 19, 2012 - 4:41pm

What rock are you living under?

GWW

January 19, 2012 - 4:05pm

There is no credible source that states 20,000 jobs of any duration. The translation of man hours in construction do not equal full time jobs. The maintenance of the pipeline would be neglible based on modern control technology. As an aside, oil is a world commodity and therefore the clearing price is the world price. The legacy of polution that we would leave our children and grandchildren is despicable and would ultimately destroy all the good that has been accomplished by preceeding generations. I question the legitimacy of the Legions involvement and questioning the present administration that has done more for veterans but has had little positive recognition by the American Legion.

rs

January 20, 2012 - 8:26am

GWW - Excellent replay. I also question why the legion is involved in this, and why it is spreading propaganda about "jobs for veterans". Short-term employment is not the answer.

Stephan R. Hanna

January 19, 2012 - 6:11pm

I agree with you 100%. This issue has me wondering if I'm in the right outfit now. I am first an American and second to that is my party allegiance. If the American Legion is going to be a Republican bully pulpit they will be doing that without my membership.

JRB

January 20, 2012 - 11:11am

Good one. Also not one drop of oil is intended for the US only to be shipped.

larryschupp

January 25, 2012 - 6:22pm

All excellent comments above which reflect my view exactly. As I read our commander's opinion regarding the President's action, I was thinking, "Is the Legion just a reflection of his personal views?" as I have found myself wondering on many of his recent statement/positions. Apparently he is nothing more than a lapdog of the 1% and I would guess that there are not many Legion members in that group, certainly many times fewer than can be found among the 99%. In response to this and his previous statements, I have already decided to discontinue my membership in the Legion, at least as long as our leadership believes that this organization only exists to oppose the commander-in-chief and support his conservative adversaries.

J4045

March 1, 2012 - 7:31pm

My sentiments exactly. Bravo for standing up to those who would hijack the Legion for their right-wing agenda.

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