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Milan Eagle | Pipeline would help grow economy

May 23, 2014
Opinion Editorial

On April 18, President Obama once again delayed the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline – an astonishing decision considering public support for this project is at an all-time high.  According to a recent Rasmussen poll, more than 60-percent of Americans are in favor of the pipeline, and that figure continues to climb. Americans support Keystone because it would create tens of thousands of jobs nationwide as well as help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, lowering energy costs in our cars and at home.   

Once completed, the $7 billion private-sector infrastructure project would extend an existing pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, carrying nearly 1 million additional barrels of oil each day. Concerns about the project have been dispelled in the last five years.  For example, some worried construction of the pipeline would negatively impact the environment, but after much review the State Department reported not only would the pipeline have no significant impact on carbon pollution and building it would actually decrease gas emissions. The State Department's final report also stated that the pipeline would create 42,000 direct and indirect jobs and provide a $3.1 billion boost to our economy. 

Facts like this have built a broad coalition of support, including labor unions and former Obama Administration officials. Last year, Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers, stated his support for the project because it will create jobs here in the U.S.  Additionally, the AFL-CIO President of the Building and Construction Trades Department, Sean McGarvey, wrote a letter to Congress in support of legislation to clear the remaining barriers preventing construction of the pipeline.  He wrote, "We are adamant in our belief that the economic, energy security and national security benefits associated with the construction of this pipeline are too important to allow it to be delayed any longer." Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have both made statements in support of building the pipeline. Even the Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of the Keystone pipeline last year, approving an amendment by a vote of 62-37 recognizing this project will boost our nation's economic growth and contribute revenues to the U.S. Treasury.

The President has all the information he needs approve the pipeline. His lack of leadership on this issue and refusal to make a decision is frustrating to everyone, particularly Americans without a job or burdened with the high cost of energy. It's time to move forward with an energy policy that recognizes the job-creating power and increased energy security of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will help grow a healthy economy and lower energy prices.