Chairman Upton Responds to President’s Latest Salvo on Keystone Jobs

July 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – On the latest leg of the president’s “jobs” tour, he criticized Republicans’ efforts to build the Keystone XL pipeline, charging, “Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs… isn’t a jobs plan.” The House has now voted seven times to expedite construction of the pipeline in the face of the administration’s continued delay of the critical jobs project. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) responded to the president’s latest attack on jobs, stating, “The president famously pledged to 'do whatever it takes' to create jobs – but this is a new low. Attacking new job opportunities is not a jobs plan. Unions and manufacturers are desperate for the president to say yes to the Keystone pipeline because it will get thousands of workers off of unemployment and back on the job. The president should listen to these American workers looking for a job and embrace the opportunity to realize the benefits of $7 billion in private investment.

“The president's comments reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the ‘all of the above’ approach he so desperately tried to co-opt. This is not about one oil pipeline; we want to build many more pipelines and private-sector projects as part of our architecture of abundance but red tape continues to delay construction and the creation of much-needed jobs. It shouldn’t take five years to build a pipeline. We are working toward creating a smarter and more efficient regulatory process to get these projects off the ground.”

In May, the House voted to approve H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which will address all necessary federal permits, end the regulatory delays, and finally allow the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline to move forward. Ahead of the vote, leading labor unions voiced their strong support for the legislation. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters wrote, “We believe that it is time to end the delay and to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. … If the pipeline is not built, important socioeconomic benefits will not be realized – the positive impacts of local, state and federal revenue, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services.The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, also called for an end to the delays, stating, “The Keystone XL project will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs here in the United States and Canada. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a life line.” The president has recently attacked Keystone’s “temporary” jobs, but many laborers have argued that the very nature of their work is based on temporary jobs. At a recent rally in support of the pipeline, David Barnett with the United Association of Plumbers of Pipefitters shouted, “Tell me a job today that’s not temporary…We’ve made a living all our lives off temporary jobs.

For a broad accounting of workers and job creators in support of the Keystone XL pipeline and H.R. 3, click here.

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