By Cindy Schild
In blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama is blocking the very same jobs and economic opportunity he now lobbies for on behalf of the American middle class.
In saying no to the Keystone XL, the president is saying no to working Americans, many of whom helped him win those two elections he mentioned during last week’s State of the Union speech.
In denying the pipeline, the president is denying progress on two of his top priorities: infrastructure spending and expanded trade. By working against Keystone XL, President Obama is working against the national interest instead of for it.
The president in his State of the Union message:
“… middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. … (A)s we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. … Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions of growth and competitiveness. This is where America needs to go.”
Mr. President, why do you keep talking about middle-class jobs and the need for infrastructure spending when building the Keystone XL pipeline would support both? The U.S. State Department says pipeline construction would support 42,100 jobs and put about $2 billion in workers’ pockets while adding $3.4 billion to U.S. GDP. Keystone XL is a good opportunity for working men and women. They’ve said so, unequivocally.
You talked about infrastructure last week, reinforcing a comprehensive plan your administration released last year to accelerate and expand federal infrastructure permitting so “private developers will be able to start construction sooner, create jobs earlier.” Yet, you’re responsible for the Keystone XL approval process taking three times as long as approvals for all other cross-border oil and natural gas pipelines. It doesn’t fit with your rhetoric of last week. It doesn’t fit with the speech you gave in Cushing, Okla., nearly three years ago, when you announced the administration would fast-track Keystone XL’s southern leg and declared that infrastructure permitting would be a national priority.
You talked about expanding trade last week, yet Keystone XL would support trade with our greatest trading partner and No. 1 source of imported oil, Canada – while also delivering crude oil from our upper plains states for refining at our Gulf Coast refineries.
Mr. President, you’re not listening to your own constituents or the strong majority of all Americans who support building Keystone XL. You’re not listening to the State Department, which has done five environmental reviews of the project, all of which have said Keystone XL would not significantly impact the environment.
Instead, you’re letting national priorities be overshadowed by a vocal minority, pursing an off-oil agenda. The losers are construction workers, the middle class and all Americans.
Back in January 2013, while urging Congress to act on immigration reform, the president said: “Most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long.” Well, Mr. President, more than most Americans agree that it has taken way too long to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and get it built. It’s time, Mr. President. It’s time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.