Building Landmark Project Will Help Rebuild Middle Class
American families are looking to Washington for solutions. They’re working to put food on the table, pay rising gas prices, and for far too many of our friends and neighbors, the challenge is just finding a job. The concerns of America’s middle class are at the forefront, and that’s why it’s worth noting an opportunity to create thousands of jobs and provide energy security. It’s the Keystone XL pipeline.
In September of 2008, TransCanada proposed an extension of the Keystone pipeline connecting Canadian oil sands with U.S. refineries in Texas. The State Department spent over three years studying the project and was about to issue its final approval in the fall of 2011 when President Obama punted the Keystone decision until after November 2012.
Despite President Obama’s claims that he would do “whatever it takes” to move our economy forward, the economic forecast looks to be worsening. It was recently announced that U.S. GDP fell 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 while unemployment ticked up last month up to 7.9%.
The Keystone XL pipeline is exactly the kind of private sector project America needs to strengthen our economy and create jobs. It is a $7 billion private sector infrastructure project that will create thousands of middle class jobs during the life of its operation. Rather than approve the project to get Americans back to work, the White House has allowed the Keystone decision to languish for over four years. In fact, it has now been 1,612 days since TransCanada first submitted its application to the State Department to build this job-creating project.
Last year President Obama signed important pipeline safety legislation into law that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) teamed up to help develop. The new law requires stronger safety controls and stiffer penalties and should provide further peace of mind to those concerned about the safe transport of Alberta’s oil into the United States.
As strong bipartisan support for this middle class jobs project continues to grow, the White House has run out of excuses for not supporting the pipeline. In this week’s State of the Union address to the nation, President Obama again outlined plans to restore the middle class. There is no reason why construction of this energy infrastructure project should not be at the top of the list to support middle class jobs and stable energy supplies that we all depend on. It is time to move #ForwardOnKeystone. It’s #TimeToBuild the Keystone XL pipeline.