By Sabrina Fang
A picture is really worth a thousand words. Look at this photo of the president, taken on March 22, 2012. He’s standing in front of a pile of pipes in Oklahoma that later would be used to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. And this is what he said that day:
“There’s a bottleneck right here because we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough. And if we could, then we would be able to increase our oil supplies at a time when they’re needed as much as possible….And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people. We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we can do both.”
The White House followed up with a blog:
“Modernizing pipeline infrastructure and expanding its ability to deliver oil to refineries and consumers around the country is a vital piece of a strategy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and expand production of American-made energy. That’s why President Obama directed his Administration to expedite the permitting and construction process of a new pipeline that will help crude oil make its way to Gulf Coast refineries more quickly, and doing so while protecting natural resources and the health of local communities along the pipeline’s proposed path.”
The administration’s blog was headlined, “Expanding Our Oil and Gas Pipeline Infrastructure.” Obviously, when you’re running for re-election you promote issues that are important to the American people – such as reliable, affordable energy.
Now fast forward to the present. It’s 2015, and Mr. Obama is on the last leg of his political career. No more campaigns to worry about, which apparently means not caring about the same issues that were and are important to the very voters he courted just a few years ago. Seventy-two percent of Americans want Keystone XL built. Yet President Obama continues to deny the 42,000 jobs and enhanced energy security the U.S. State Department says KXL would bring to this country.
Instead of cutting through red tape (like he did for the project’s southern leg in 2012) the president continues to create more red tape to ensure that his final decision is put off for as long as possible. This is not the leadership we need.
On that day nearly three years ago, President Obama said:
“I want us to control our own energy destiny. I want us to determine our own course. So, yes, we’re going to keep on drilling. Yes, we’re going to keep on emphasizing production. Yes, we’re going to make sure that we can get oil to where it’s needed.”
With the right energy policies, including more investment in Canadian oil sands and giving a green light to the Keystone XL pipeline, we could be closer to a more secure, more stable North American energy future. We all know the president isn’t running for office again, but he shouldn’t leave office without doing everything possible to secure America’s energy future.