Pryor And Cotton Tour Welspun Together In Support Of Keystone Pipeline Project

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 130 views 

Standing together on a gravel stage in the shipyard for Welspun Pipes in Little Rock, Cong. Tom Cotton (R) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D) repeated their support for the Keystone XL Pipeline project that is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate and by Pres. Barack Obama.

Welspun Pipes North American manufacturing facility has produced more than 700 miles of pipe for the $20 million Canada-to-Houston pipeline project. Roughly 356 miles of pipe are sitting in Welspun’s yard awaiting distribution, but a presidential hold on the project has meant months of delay.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a roughly 2,000 mile transcontinental project that would transport crude oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico region for refinery purposes.

Pryor called moving forward on the project “a no-brainer” and said that an energy efficiency bill being considered in the Senate this week could contain amendments to allow Keystone to proceed. Pryor said that Republicans are trying to add amendments to the bill that are not germane to energy and that could dash hopes for a breakthrough.

“It is time to build this pipeline,” Pryor said.

“I’m pleased to be here today at Welspun to reaffirm that we’re not backing down. We’ll continue to fight for this project because building the Keystone XL Pipeline is about securing our nation’s economic future,” Pryor said.

Cotton said “foot-dragging” by the Obama administration is costing Arkansas and America jobs. He said if Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate, a GOP House-approved bill on Keystone would already be passed by the upper chamber, although it would potentially face a presidential veto.

“The House voted to approve the pipeline last year, but unfortunately it remains stalled in the Senate, where it so far has to even be scheduled for debate,” said Cotton. “Our underground transportation infrastructure is aging and this is an opportunity to replace it with state-of-the-art pipe, built right here in the Natural State.”

“The Keystone Pipeline means jobs for Arkansas,” Cotton added.

Welspun employs 800 workers in Little Rock and company officials said that another 50 jobs could be added immediately for the next six months just to move existing pipe if the project were green-lighted. All told, Keystone Pipeline supporters contend that 42,000 jobs could be created by the project, but critics complain that more realistically it would produce 6,500 temporary jobs and only hundreds of permanent jobs.

Cong. Tim Griffin (R), who represents the Second District where Welspun is located, said Obama’s opposition to Keystone is “all about politics.”

Griffin contends that numerous studies have suggested the project could go forward, but he said Obama must placate the environmentalist base of the Democratic Party.

“Here at Welspun in Little Rock, the project has already contributed to more jobs from additional pipe construction. Government analysis shows Keystone will add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy. It’s time for President Obama to do the right thing for American workers and allow Keystone to be built,” said Griffin.

Griffin said he did not bring the issue up with the president when he was in Arkansas last week touring tornado-ravaged areas of the state.