According to news reports, President Obama will formally reject the Keystone XL Pipeline project today. If the reports prove to be true, this is a deeply concerning development for manufacturers and our overall economy.
This project will create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and another study indicates that we would see an additional 118,000 indirect jobs. In such a time of high unemployment and economic difficulty, where is the logic in turning your back on a positive solution?
A pipeline intended to transport oil from Canada through the middle of the United States must first run through Washington. That’s the unfortunate reality that is holding up construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The pipeline will create jobs–thousands of them–and add billions to the economy, yet it continues to get tangled in red tape. Optimism that the Administration would approve the pipeline by the end of this year has turned to frustration after President Obama announced a decision would wait until 2013.
This project has waited long enough. When TransCanada (the company building the pipeline) filed for its permit, it expected a wait of about 23 months. Now, it’s looking at a delay that could exceed 50 months.
That’s one of the points that will be made by TransCanada at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the pipeline today. Other witnesses include representatives from organized labor, which also backs the project. You can watch the hearing here.
And earlier this year the House passed legislation that would force the President to make a decision by November 1. It’s too late for that obviously, but Congress continues to press on. A bill in the Senate would require a decision in 60 days–there’s more on that legislation in a post below.
The upside of this project is enormous–jobs, energy security, billions contributed to the U.S. economy. So why wait?
Last week the State Department took a positive step on the long road to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring oil supplies from Canada into the U.S. Construction of the pipeline seems like a no-brainer. We get access to reliable energy supplies from our neighbor and ally to the north—and, as an added benefit, construction of the pipeline will create 20,000 jobs and add billions to our economy.
The pipeline, however, has its detractors, who have “made Keystone into a cause celebre,” as Robert Samuelson puts it in today’s Washington Post.
He goes on:
Actually, the reality is more complex. If Obama rejects the pipeline, he would — perversely — increase greenhouse gas emissions. Canada has made clear that it will proceed with oil sands development regardless of the American decision. If the United States doesn’t want the oil, China and other Asian countries do. Pipelines would be built to the West Coast. Transporting the oil by tanker to Asia would almost certainly create more emissions than moving it by pipeline to closer U.S. markets.
Samuelson highlights the stark choice: “Do we say yes to oil sands? Or do we increase our exposure to unstable world oil markets?”
It’s past time for approval of this project, which has been awaiting the government’s sign-off since 2009. Manufacturers—and everyone who depends on affordable, secure energy is waiting for the administration to move forward.