Ed Feulner, founder of The Heritage Foundation, once said, “There are no permanent victories in Washington, only a permanent series of battles.”
There are no permanent defeats either. The Heritage Foundation’s relentless pursuit for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates that.
For seven years, Heritage advocated for the government to approve the pipeline. In that time, Heritage’s team produced more than 100 research reports and commentaries and Heritage experts spoke on numerous TV and radio programs on the topic.
In a 2015 report, Heritage advised that the “easiest decision” of the next administration should be to approve the pipeline.
“Keystone XL is environmentally responsible, will not contribute significantly to climate change, will boost the economy, will increase the supply of oil to America’s Gulf Coast refineries, and will provide much needed energy infrastructure,” wrote Nick Loris, Heritage’s Joyce Morgan fellow in energy and environmental policy.
Loris even testified before Congress on barriers to infrastructure development. Recommendations to approve the Keystone XL project were part of his testimony.
Shortly after taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring expedited review of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The State Department granted a permit for Keystone XL to TransCanada on March 24.
Loris says it took the State Department longer than it should have to approve the permit, especially since President Barack Obama’s administration concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe.
“Thankfully, the Trump administration is restoring some regulatory sanity, which will be critically important as we move forward with a debate over an infrastructure bill,” Loris says.
According to Katie Tubb, Heritage’s policy analyst for economic policy studies, the Obama administration could not find any considerable objections at the federal level to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“It’s encouraging to see the political circus of the last seven years finally give way to rule of law and sane energy and environment policy,” says Tubb. “The Keystone XL pipeline offers opportunities for Americans and a continued partnership with one of our largest energy partners, Canada.”
Loris and Tubb now want Congress and the Trump administration to implement reform so that projects like Keystone XL are not held up for years in regulatory paralysis or through litigation.