Not a single national infrastructure project under consideration today will do more to advance North American energy independence than Keystone XL, and if energy independence is in the national interest, than Keystone XL deserves, if anything, more attention, not less.
The Keystone pipeline project has become the most scrutinized energy infrastructure project of the decade. After almost 5 years of review, it is an economic and geopolitical no-brainer, evolving into merely a symbolic hostage in a political debate.
President Obama’s recent comments on the Keystone project have spurred a barrage of dissent, not only from KXL’s supporters, but also journalists, analysts, and the State Department itself.
Obama’s chuckle over KXL job creation is a disservice to the millions of Americans looking for work. His disregard for his own State Department’s finding is absurd. No reasonable economic analysis would come up with such a small number for job creation. His own State Department estimates that it will create or support 42,000 jobs. Moreover, the southern leg of the pipeline project has already created 4,000 jobs, according to the Associated Press.
The reality is we are still in an economic slump, where jobs are few and far between for many Americans. The President has repeatedly stated his intentions for job creation, on and off the campaign trail, vowing to do “whatever it takes” to create jobs. However, his inaction and his attack on new job opportunities, such as this one, are counterintuitive to his promises.
Although the president may choose to disregard his own State Department’s findings and downplay Keystone XL’s job creation potential, there can be no doubt that an influx of billions of private dollars into the economy will generate significant economic growth within the U.S. Our struggling economy is too real for ignoring solid data and science.
By disregarding the economic benefits of this project, the President has created a formula for political abuse. Significant resources will certainly be wasted in political pandering over the merits of a single infrastructure project.
The American people understand the futility of this argument. That’s why 82 percent of voters – and bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress — support building the pipeline according to Harris Media. Support is across majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, along with leaders such as President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to industry leaders such as Warren Buffett; all in agreement Keystone XL is in our national interest.
That’s the only thing the State Department and President Obama should be considering: whether the added jobs, economic growth, strengthened trade relationship, increased energy security and national security benefits are good for America. We have an unprecedented opportunity to ensure our nation’s future and security. Attaining increased energy security requires smart and decisive policy decisions from our leaders. It requires approving the Keystone XL pipeline.