“Keystone will bring many benefits to the United States, but I believe the most important role that Keystone will play is to bring energy security to the United States during what has been recently some very unsettling times overseas,” Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president for energy and oil pipelines, said in a congressional hearing in December.
So, would TransCanada support US legislation requiring Canadian oil and products refined from it, such as diesel, to be sold only in the United States, asked Rep. Ed Markey (D) of Massachusetts, “so that this country realizes all of the energy security benefits your company and others have promised?”
In January, Congress attempted and failed to attach the pipeline to a payroll tax bill. Instead an assessment was requested by the State Department (and President Obama) for alternate pipeline routes that avoid the Sandhills of Nebraska. The Sandhills are nearly 20,000 square miles of unbroken prairie with hundreds of transient lakes, with a very high water table running through it (Ogallala Aquifer). The potential for oil leaks along the pipeline into the water table have raised environmental concerns by the Obama Administration.