Keystone Pipeline – Now More Than Ever

January 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commerce Department this week announced that the U.S. economy is contracting, reporting that U.S. GDP fell 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. This economic slump means even more bad news for employment seekers. University of Maryland Economist Peter Morici explains, “employment tends be a lagging indicator and flat or negative GDP growth will cause unemployment to rise sharply in the months ahead.” With the unemployment rate stuck at a stubborn 7.8 percent, and potentially more job losses on the horizon, approval of the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline should be at the top of the president’s to-do list.

In January 2012, during his weekly address to the nation, President Obama pledged that his New Year’s resolution was to do “whatever it takes” to move the economy forward. Sadly, the rhetoric has not matched the reality and the president seems to be doing “whatever it takes” to block the affordable energy and economic activity the Keystone pipeline would generate.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a shovel-ready project that would pour over $7 billion of private capital into the U.S. economy and help create thousands of new American jobs. The widespread economic benefits of the project would be great. Take Nebraska, for example, whose governor last week approved the reroute of the pipeline through the Cornhusker state that the administration had been seeking. The Consumer Energy Alliance recently published a report projecting that the state of Nebraska alone will reap 5,000 jobs for construction of the pipeline. Additional impacts show, “The construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline will add approximately $1.8 billion to the overall economic activity in Nebraska.”

After more than four years of review, continued high unemployment, and now a contracting economy, the president is running out of excuses not to approve the pipeline. As the president’s delays continue, bipartisan support for the jobs and energy project continues to grow. A bipartisan majority of the Senate wrote to President Obama last week urging him to act expeditiously. Likewise, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) spearheaded a letter sent to the president, signed by 146 bipartisan members of the House, asking the president to act in the nation’s best interest and approve the Keystone XL pipeline. 1,596 days have passed since TransCanada first applied for a Presidential Permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

With the economy contracting last quarter, it is well past time for the president to say “yes” to jobs and do “whatever it takes” to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. We need the Keystone pipeline now more than ever.