What if I told you that a transportation company had plans to expand into region where the majority of commuters were stranded? The project was entirely privately funded, the materials purchased, many of the contracts signed, and that the route plan and design was the most studied in history. Sound like a straightforward business decision?
What if I then told you that this project was stopped dead in its tracks, leaving commuters stranded? That no investments would be made, no jobs created, and no infrastructure developed without the granting of permission from the government.
What would your reaction to that be?
This is the status of TransCanada’s Keystone XL, a proposed 1,179 mile pipeline that will move stranded Canadian Oil from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska. When compared with the millions of miles of North American oil and gas pipelines, it becomes apparent that there are skilled engineers and trades people who have done this type of work before. TransCanada has purchased the pipes, the pumping units, is fully financed, and has been designing and planning this route for nearly five years. Once permitted, it would take from 40-90 days to start construction. Yet this project continues to exist in the uncertain realm of political limbo, awaiting the permission of the U.S. President.
Over 150 years of history and millions of miles of currently operating pipeline attest to the fact that there is no safer way to transport oil. While politicians mouth the phrase “investing in the country’s infrastructure”, TransCanada has the money, people, plans, and materials to actually do this. The economics and hard science has been done, but building will not occur without the elusive nod of political permission.
In a world where it is acceptable for the country’s leader to tell business owners “you didn’t build that,” it seems appropriate to add “and you won’t, without my permission.”