Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) continues to offer his full support for the TransCanada Gulf Coast Expansion Project (Keystone XL Pipeline) that is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in southeast Texas. Estimated costs of the Phase III of the project that will include Texas is $7 billion.

As a result of the continued offshore drilling moratorium, we are facing an uncertain economic future all along the Gulf Coast, said Poe. The 2nd Congressional district is the petrochemical capital of Texas and our economy is tied directly to this industry. The Keystone pipeline project is not only vital to our local economy, it is also necessary to our national energy needs. We cannot allow Washington to continue to use their politics of panic to shut down the entire energy industry.

The fact remains, we need oil, continued Poe. While I support an all-of-the-above approach, we are still dependent on crude oil and we cannot ignore our present needs while waiting for alternatives. We can continue to rely on unfriendly foreign nations or we can work with our long-time allies to the north to supply over 1.4 million barrels of oil a day. As the administration continues to hold our own domestic production hostage, we must immediately look for additional ways to safely meet our energy needs.

As with any project of this magnitude, every effort must be made to follow the letter of the law to ensure safety and protection to the environment. Southeast Texas is no stranger to pipeline projects and has operated them safely for years. Pipelines are a far safer way to transport crude, eliminating the greater potential for accidents by tanking it from overseas.

In his latest efforts, Congressman Poe sent a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton stating his support for the project and requests an update on the permitting status. The letter additionally states: This project is vitally important to the energy security of the United States, and I encourage you to approve the permit without further delay.

In addition, Poe also joined 35 members of Congress on a delegation letter to Secretary Clinton urging the Department of State to move forward with the permitting process for the pipeline project as planned.

The Texas and Oklahoma portion of the pipeline still awaits approval from the State Department. Since the project crosses an international border, the Department of State is ultimately responsible for issuing the permit.

In a letter to Gary G. Mar, QC, Minister-Counsellor of Alberta, Canada, Congressman Poe again offered his full support:

This project will be extremely important to the 2nd Congressional District of Texas, as it is home to over 23% of the refining capacity in the United States. The oil from Canada that will be refined from this pipeline will provide the United States with a reliable and affordable source of energy for many years to come.

The proposed Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project is an approximate 1,661-mile, 36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would incorporate the 298-mile portion of the Keystone Pipeline (Phase II) through Nebraska, Kansas to serve markets at Cushing, Oklahoma before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas to serve the Port Arthur, Texas marketplace.

Keystone plans to first construct the 435-miles of new pipeline in Oklahoma and Texas. It is anticipated this third phase of Keystone would start construction in the first quarter of 2011 and be complete by the fourth quarter of 2011.

Total project costs of the TransCanada Pipeline project is estimated at over $12 billion.

To view a copy of the letters, click the links below:

Letter to SecretaryHillary Clinton
Letter to Minister-Counsellor Mar
Letter to the U.S. Department of State