Top 10 National Policy Issues

On September 19, 2008, the TransCanada Corporation submitted its application to the U.S. Department of State to proceed with the construction of a $7 billion private infrastructure project designed to carry up to 830,000 barrels of petroleum per day from western Canada’s oil sands of the Boreal forests to oil refineries and ports along the Gulf Coast of the United States.1,2  Roughly half of the system is already built from Alberta through North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.2  The Keystone XL Pipeline is a shortcut that would start in Hardisty, Alberta, diagonally bisect Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and connect Steele City, Nebraska with existing pipelines to the Gulf Coast.2

Bipartisan legislation approving the permit to construct a 1,179-mile addition to the pipeline, known as the Keystone XL, was vetoed by President Obama in February 2015.2,3  This was the first time a U.S. administration had prohibited the cross-border construction of a major oil pipeline, even though U.S. regulators approved two very similar cross-border pipelines in the past decade that transport exactly the same type of oil.3 

Proponents of the Keystone Pipeline argue that the addition of petroleum reserves from Canada would increase U.S. energy independence, create thousands of long-term jobs, and prevent China from siphoning oil away from North America.  Arguments opposing the construction of the pipeline are predominantly environmental in nature, raising concerns of potential environmental disasters which could be created by leaks in the pipeline, to include contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer.  Additionally, the pipeline could be viewed as a very lucrative target for terrorists.

1A Brief History of the Keystone Pipe
2Keystone Pipeline Pros, Cons and Steps to a Final Decision
3Why We’re Suing Obama Over Keystone

H.R.26 — Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017
Sponsor:  Rep. McNerney, Jerry [D-CA-9]
Offered:  01/05/2017
Latest Action:  01/05/2017 On agreeing to the McNerney amendment (A010) Failed by recorded vote: 190 - 235 (Roll no. 19).

:  Amendment sought to ensure that any rule intended to ensure the safety of natural gas or hazardous materials pipelines or prevent, mitigate, or reduce the impact of spills from such pipelines is not considered a "major rule".

Purpose:  An amendment numbered 10 printed in House Report 115-1 to ensure that any rule intended to ensure the safety of natural gas or hazardous materials pipelines or prevent, mitigate, or reduce the impact of spills from such pipelines is not considered a "major rule".

H.R.49 - American Energy Independence and Job Creation Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]
Introduced:  01/03/2017
Committees:    House - Natural Resources; Energy and Commerce; Science, Space, and Technology
Latest Action:    01/03/2017 Referred to House Science, Space, and Technology 

Summary:  Not available.

Issue Topic

Keystone XL Pipeline

Polling question

Should the federal government approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Yes, Strongly Agree
Yes, Agree
Neutral / No opinion
No, Disagree
No, Strongly Disagree


President Donald Trump has maintained a consistent position in agreement with the Republican controlled Congress in regards to approving the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.  In August 2015, he tweeted, "If I am elected President I will immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. No impact on environment & lots of jobs for U.S."1  However, President Trump’s stance concerning the allocation of profits from the pipeline is in conflict with the TransCanada Corporation, the company building the pipeline.  President Trump stated in May 2016 that he would approve the pipeline if the U.S. government got “a piece of the profits, because we’re making it happen.”2  TransCanada Corp. disagrees with such an arrangement, claiming that this is not the way these sorts of projects are structured.  TransCanada spokesman James Millar contended, “The role of the U.S. government in such transactions is that of a regulator — ensuring various laws and regulations are followed — and granting appropriate permits... We would expect to continue to follow this model that has been in place for decades.”2

1Donald Trump supports the Keystone pipeline

2Developer rejects Trump’s Keystone pipeline proposal

Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana.
The Crawford Family Farm Partnership v. TRANSCANADA Keystone Pipeline, L.P.
No. 06–12–00113–CV.
Decided:  August 27, 2013

National results

Total Middle School and High School Respondents: 2

Total Voting Age Respondents: 21

Issue Poll Summary:

Political followings



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