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Advocates Connect Florida To Keystone Pipeline

R. Benk

The Consumer Energy Alliance, an energy lobbying group, is laying out its 2013 legislative priorities. The group mentioned many initiatives, but the conversation kept returning to the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada.

The Keystone pipeline is an expansion of an existing Trans-Canada pipeline that would extend it by 850 miles. Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council, Dave Mica said the faraway pipeline could help Florida by lessening the state’s dependence on off-shore rigs.

“We also have a vested interest as Floridians because of the potential for hurricanes and what it does to our off shore production, which is about 25% of the nation’s oil and gas that’s produced off shore. So should that shut in our Gulf Coast refineries, which were heavily reliant on for most of our oil and gas, would be able to have additional supply by pipeline,” Mica said.

Some environmentalists worry about the possible negative impact of the project. But, supporters say the threat is negligible. The Consulate General of Canada, Beth Richardson, thinks the project is well worth the risk. 

“Trans-Canada’s pipeline would allow the United States to increase its supply by 700,000 barrels a day, which will decrease U.S. reliance for oil on unstable and undemocratic countries,” Richardson said.

But, David Guest, an environmental lawyer with Earthjustice, believes cheaper gas prices are beside the point.

“Our problem in the United States is not that we need more gasoline for cars, that’s not the problem in the world. The problem in the world is that there is an approaching catastrophe from climate change and having a new source of oil fuels the problem instead of solve the problem,” Guest said.

Canada is the biggest exporter of oil to the United States, producing nearly 30% of all oil exports to the country. It’s still unclear whether the pipeline will be approved.