Upton: Keystone Pipeline not deadPublished 10:57pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton says the Keystone Pipeline issue is not dead.
That’s what he told the Berrien County Manufacturer’s Council at its annual meeting Wednesday.
The pipeline project is being included as an amendment in a Republican highway funding bill. It couldn’t pass the Senate in a vote last week, getting 56 of the necessary 60 votes, Upton said.
But Upton, R-St. Joseph, said he still hopes for the amendment to make its way into legislation that needs to be passed to keep federal aid flowing to highway and transit programs beyond this month.
Upton and many of his Republican colleagues argue the pipeline, which would transport heavy crude oil from Canada to Texas, will create jobs and reduce dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Upton, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the pipeline project a “no brainer.” The project would create 20,000 direct private-sector jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, he argued.
With rising gas prices, Upton said the urgency for the pipeline project has increased.
“Gas should be over $4 by Easter and not coming down for a while. Some expect $5 by the summer,” he said. “It impacts the lower- and middle-income families more than anybody else .…. (The pipeline) is something we have got to have.”
The Keystone pipeline project calls for a 1,700-mile expansion of an existing energy pipeline and would transport 1.1 million barrels per day.
Upton also pointed to several “really positive trends” in southwest Michigan.
The congressman has been making his rounds throughout the district while the House is not in session. He pointed to FabMasters in Marcellus that has introduced new products and is expanding its job force.
He also recognized American Axle in Three Rivers that was on the brink of closing several years ago but now is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion and is adding about 400 jobs.
“You can see a wave of things that are starting to get positive,” Upton said.
Upton toured Clark Testing Co. in Buchanan and Tem-Pace LLC in Niles after the Manufacturers Council meeting.