Michael Whatley, Executive Vice President of CEA, is quoted in an E&E News story about a CEA report shows how the Gulf Coast pipeline has brought billions of dollars to numerous rural Texas and Oklahoma counties.

Construction of the southern segment of TransCanada Corp.’s politically fraught pipeline has brought billions of dollars to the rural Texas and Oklahoma counties the conduit touches, according to a report out today from the Consumer Energy Alliance.

The industry-backed CEA hopes its latest research, conducted by Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute, will help support approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed connection of Alberta’s oil sands and North Dakota’s Bakken Shale with TransCanada’s existing transmission lines.

“We still have a very anemic and weak economy, and we have folks that are fighting like hell not to have a project like this,” said Michael Whatley, executive vice president of CEA.

Over a two-year period, construction on the Gulf Coast pipeline boosted economic activity by about $3.6 billion in Texas and by about $2.1 billion in Oklahoma, the report says. It contributed 43,000 person-years, a unit indicating the amount of work done by a single person over a 12-month period, of employment in both states.