“I don’t want the energy jobs of tomorrow going to other countries. I want them here in the United States of America. And that’s what an all-of-the-above strategy is all about. That’s how we break our dependence on foreign oil.”
– President Barack Obama, During March 22, 2012, Visit to Cushing, OK
WASHINGTON, DC – With Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s approval Tuesday of the proposed reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline, any obstacle for a Presidential Permit has now been removed, and any concerns with the Nebraska segment have been thoroughly addressed. According to the Washington Times, Gov. Heineman has “removed the only other remaining hurdle by formally approving the pipeline’s modified 194-mile route through his state, skirting sensitive ecological areas and clearing up the last major question mark on the course of the proposed $7 billion Canada-to-Texas project.” The Washington Post today added, “The president has even less reason to nix the project than he did last time.”
The landmark Keystone XL project is a proposed 1,700 mile extension of an existing pipeline linking energy supplies in Canada to the United States. When complete, the Keystone XL pipeline is expected to carry nearly a million additional barrels of oil per day to refineries in the U.S., significantly expanding our access to North American energy supplies and reducing our need to import oil from unstable regions of the world. Building the Keystone XL pipeline is projected to directly create thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs, not to mention the tens of thousands of additional jobs and economic benefit that comes from an infrastructure project of this magnitude and the secure, stable energy supplies it will deliver. It is also a project that has strong, bipartisan support. During a press conference Wednesday on the proposed pipeline, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) stated, “This is about one simple thing: Jobs.”
Now that the Nebraska process is complete, the ball is squarely back in President Obama’s court. The next step is for the State Department to complete its review and for the president to simply say “yes” to jobs and greater energy security. It is time for the president to live up to his rhetoric, and fulfill his commitment to jobs and American energy made during his visit to Cushing, Oklahoma, ten months ago.
Sadly, it appears the president’s Keystone delay will continue. The Obama administration signaled Tuesday that a decision on the pipeline would be pushed until after the first quarter of this year. It has now been over four years since TransCanada first applied for the Keystone XL permit. We can’t afford to wait any longer, especially as TransCanada considers alternatives, including shipping oil to China. The Keystone XL pipeline is a shovel-ready project that will create jobs and fortify our energy security. House Republicans will continue to fight for these things; will the president?