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PolitiFact Florida: Jeb Bush overstates number of U.S.-Canada pipelines

The statement

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

Jeb Bush, March 21, in remarks to business leaders

The ruling

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

Bush took a question on the pipeline after a speech to business leaders. 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.

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.

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 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 that 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."

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/Florida.

PolitiFact Florida: Jeb Bush overstates number of U.S.-Canada pipelines 03/28/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 4:59pm]

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