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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman March 26, 2014

Talking about Keystone XL Pipeline, Jeb Bush: we have over 100 pipelines between U.S. and Canada

Former Gov. Jeb Bush says the Keystone XL Pipeline is a "no-brainer."

Bush took a question on the pipeline after a speech to the business and civic group Broward Workshop. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson asked him this:

"Just as a symbol -- as a symbol -- would you have approved something like the Keystone Pipeline or would you have studied it for eight years?"

Bush responded: "I read something that was quite interesting. There are over 100 pipelines between the United States and Canada right now. Give me a break. What are we arguing about here?"

We’re not going to weigh in on the pros and cons of expanding the pipeline but we can fact-check whether there are already 100 pipelines between the United States and Canada.

Keystone Pipeline

Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline that would carry 830,000 barrels per day of diluted oil sands from Western Canada to Nebraska and then to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Earlier in March, the U.S. State Department concluded the public comment period about the project. After six years of contentious debate between environmentalists and pipeline supporters, the decision now lies with President Barack Obama.

We sent Bush’s claim to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which referred us to an October 2013 Congressional Research Service report. The report stated that CRS "has identified over 100 operating or proposed oil, natural gas, and electric transmission facilities crossing the U.S.-Mexico or U.S.-Canada border." A Bush spokesperson later referred us to this report as well.

Bush had said there were over "100 pipelines between the United States and Canada right now," but the CRS report refers to operating and proposed facilities crossing the border with Canada or Mexico.

Featured Fact-check

With help from FERC and the Pipeline Safety Trust, a safety watchdog group, we counted the pipelines in the tables of the report and found 29 natural gas pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border and about 17 oil pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border.

Philippe Reicher, a spokesman for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, told PolitiFact that the National Energy Board, which regulates pipelines crossing the border between Canada and the United States, has indicated that they have approximately 80 pipelines crossing the border.

"That would include oil, gas, water, etc.," he wrote in an email. "In terms of large transmission pipeline systems similar to the proposed Keystone XL, we are probably looking between 18 and 22."

Lorne Stockman, research director at Oil Change International, a group that opposes Keystone, pointed to a map from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which shows all the existing and proposed liquids pipelines crossing the border.  

"Some of these carry products rather than crude, and only a handful currently carry tar sands crude," Stockman told PolitiFact. "Looks quite busy on this map, but I think we can all agree that  100 is a little overstated."

Our ruling

Bush said, "There are over 100 pipelines between the United States and Canada right now."

Bush has a point that there are a number of major oil and gas pipelines that already cross the U.S.-Canada border. But his number is significantly off.

A 2013 Congressional Research Service report referred to 100 pipelines, but that included operating or proposed oil, natural gas, and electric transmission lines, and it counted pipelines crossing both the U.S.-Mexico border and the U.S.-Canada border. If we only count operating pipelines that cross the Canadian border, we count 29 natural gas pipelines and 17 oil pipelines, for a total of 46.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Congressional Research Service, Presidential permits for border crossing energy facilities, Oct. 29, 2013

U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline Basics, Accessed March 21, 2014

U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Annual report mileage for hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide systems, March 3, 2014

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, "Crude Oil forecasts, markets and transportation," June 2013

Naked Politics, "From Common Core to immigration, Jeb Bush shows he’s the ‘Eat your broccoli’ Republican," March 21, 2014

Sun-Sentinel, "Jeb Bush appears before Broward business, government leaders," March 21, 2014

PolitiFact, Fact-checks about Keystone XL Pipeline, Accessed March 21, 2014

Interview, Jeff Wright, Director, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, March 21, 2014

Interview, Mary O'Driscoll, spokeswoman Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, March 21, 2014

Interview, Samya Lutz, outreach coordinator Pipeline Safety Trust, March 21,  2014

Interview, Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director for Energy and Sustainability at University of California, March 21, 2014

Interview, Philippe Reicher, spokesman for Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, March 21, 2014

Interview, Sabrina Fang, spokeswoman American Petroleum Institute, March 21, 2014

Interview, Lorne Stockman, research director Oil Change International, March 23, 2014

Interview, Jaryn Emhof, spokeswoman for former Gov. Jeb Bush, March 24, 2014

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Talking about Keystone XL Pipeline, Jeb Bush: we have over 100 pipelines between U.S. and Canada

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