When President Obama rejected building the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to refineries as far as the Gulf Coast, he acted contrary to his claims that he wants job growth and energy independence.
The Keystone XL pipeline is the kind of project America really needs. It will employ thousands of workers and be paid for by the private sector, rather than our tax dollars.
Construction of the 1,700-mile transcontinental pipeline will cost private entities $7 billion. That money will pour into our economy through wages and purchases of goods and services. The ripple effect of these jobs and purchases will spread not only through the region, but the whole country, where 14 million Americans are still out of work.
This pipeline would deliver 700,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries. It will also be a conduit for another 100,000 barrels per day from the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota.
We must have energy security. That means developing energy sources at home and with our friends. Our country must not rely so heavily on Middle East oil and be caught flat-footed if Iran causes problems in the Strait of Hormuz or other instabilities arise. This project forms a partnership to ensure reliability and that we will not be held hostage to the whims of tyrants.
I was a co-sponsor of legislation requiring the president to make a decision on the pipeline. He denied the permit, saying it did not give him enough time for review. Yet his State Department has studied the issue for three years and was prepared to make a recommendation at the end of 2011. Instead, President Obama played politics and tried to delay the decision until after the fall elections. That is when Congress decided to force his hand.
The arguments against the pipeline do not add up. The U. S. already has more than 50,000 miles of crude oil pipelines safely operating every day. The Nebraska governor has said they can find a pipeline route around their aquifer.
Radical environmentalists want the pipeline stopped because they do not like the way the oil is being extracted. However, Canada will not stop developing their oil sands just because the U.S. pipeline is not built. Canada has already said it has another buyer – China!
The Keystone XL pipeline is a project that will use private investment to create sustainable jobs, reduce our dependency on Middle Eastern oil and could be built in an environmentally-friendly way.
The president was wrong--we need the Keystone XL pipeline--and the sooner, the better. And I will continue fighting to make it a reality.