WASHINGTON — What do you get the pipeline that has everything (except a permit)?
Apparently, candy is the appropriate gift. At least, that’s the thinking behind the American Petroleum Institute’s decision to turn to Starbursts and plastic shovels as tokens to mark the sixth year since TransCanada Corp. first asked the U.S. government for approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
The trade group is sending the props — complete with a hangtag proclaiming “KXL: Shovel ready for six years and counting” — to reporters to highlight Keystone XL’s wait for the presidential permit.
Lawmakers and congressional staff, meanwhile, are getting their own anniversary cards, portraying a forlorn, hardhat worker sitting on a stretch of pipe. “They don’t make cards for delaying jobs for six years,” API’s greeting says. “So we made our own.”
The inside is full of factoids about big feats — building the Hoover Dam, painting the Sistine Chapel, standing up the Golden Gate Bridge — that were accomplished before six years passed.
“Most six-year anniversaries are marked by a gift of candy,” API says, adding that this milestone is nothing to celebrate when it comes to Keystone XL. This is “an anniversary we never expected to mark. It’s time the president put the pipe in the ground, and in doing so, put tens of thousands of Americans to work.”
Other Keystone supporters are using new tactics to highlight the project ahead of the Sept. 19 anniversary of TransCanada’s filing.
For instance, the Chamber of Commerce is touring the pipeline’s proposed route this week. Karen Harbert, president of the chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the trek is designed to “demonstrate that there are consequences for this inaction.”
“Americans along the pipeline route and across the nation have been denied thousands of jobs, millions in revenue and countless opportunities,” Harbert said ahead of the tour.
Keystone critics say the project would unleash development of Canada’s oil sands by giving the bitumen harvested in Alberta a new route to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
The State Department has signaled it will wait for a Nebraska court to rule on the pipeline’s route through the state before it makes any decisions on the project.