On Sunday, President Obama affirmed his decision to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the creation of 18,000 construction jobs as the national wrestles with month after month of high unemployment.
The House of Representatives took action requiring the administration to render a decision by November 1, 2011. The President balked at that and said the State Department will issue a decision at a later date (probably after the election.)
Even Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was disappointed by the delays. But perhaps most telling was his statement that he hoped the decision would be made on the projects merits and eventually approved. What Harper was likely acknowledging, without directly saying it, is that Obama’s political base is diametrically opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline project citing environmental concerns.
What is the Keystone XL Pipeline? It is a 1,700 mile, $13 billion pipeline project that will span the length of the continental United States. It is being paid for by TransCanada with private investment money (not tax dollars.) The Canadian Energy Research Institute says the project will support 600,000 new US Jobs by 2035 and billions in GDP from 2010 to 2035.
The Obama Administration states that there is need for more study – even though TransCanada has supplied 10,000 pages of environmental studies that took the pipeline over 14 different routes over the last three years.
This project is exactly the kind of infrastructure work the Obama Administration has called for in both of its Stimulus bills. It is “shovel ready.” And, even better, it won’t cost the taxpayers a red cent since private investment money will build it. Approving the pipeline will create jobs and make the United States less dependent on Middle-East sources of oil.
The Obama Administration is needlessly delaying a good project that will create American jobs with private dollars. Obama should put aside the re-election campaign and render a decision.