Just call them the Keystone Kops. They’re the gang that can’t take yes for an answer.
Desperate to appease his leftist base, President Obama has been eagerly looking for a reason—any reason—not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. First he claimed that it might harm the environment. But his own State Department released an environmental impact statementstating that Keystone XL would not have a major impact on the environment.
Even more important than the direct jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are the indirect benefits of affordable, abundant American energy.
Next, the President claimed that he wanted to let the Nebraska courts rule on land disputes related to the pipeline before giving it the federal go-ahead. Well, the Nebraska Supreme Court recently issued its ruling, dismissing the lawsuit and allowing the pipeline project to go ahead in the Cornhusker State—if only Washington would get its own act together and approve it.
What’s President Obama’s excuse to hold up Keystone now?
The fact of the matter is, there shouldn’t be any. Six years, or more than 2,000 days, have passed since Trans Canada first proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline—and in that time, the project has survived more attempts to bring about its demise than Rasputin. If the President had a legitimate objection—other than raw ideological zealotry—to the pipeline, he surely would have raised it by now. He has not.
Moreover, the Canadian government has begun plans to build a pipeline of its own, from Alberta westward to the Pacific coast, allowing easy shipments of oil to China and other Asian nations. So the petroleum from Canadian oil sands will come to market, regardless of what Washington does. The only question is whether the United States will embrace the jobs and benefits that the pipeline project will bring. Unfortunately, the President appears adamant when it comes to prioritizing the needs of Hollywood liberals over ordinary, hard-working Americans.
President Obama’s continued intransigence on Keystone XL—Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly considers Obama his “frustrator-in-chief”—doesn’t just deny the science behind the Administration’s own studies. This President’s failure to approve the pipeline is denying opportunities for America, and Americans. Completing the project could create thousands of construction jobs, and permanent jobs thereafter. At a time when the workforce participation rate stands near 36-year lows, we need all the jobs we can get. But President Obama—in his rush to embrace the Left’s climate change religion—wants to stand in their way.
Even more important than the direct jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are the indirect benefits of affordable, abundant American energy. Lower energy prices put more money in Americans’ pockets, encouraging consumption that can grow the economy. What’s more, affordable energy supplies for manufacturers and producers have encouraged them to invest billions in new projects on our shores—creating jobs here at home, rather than shipping them overseas.
January’s jobs report confirmed what millions of Americans already know—their wages remain stagnant, barely keeping up with inflation. Meanwhile, the Washington Post recentlyreported that the recent plunge in global oil prices—prompted in large part by newly developed sources of domestic energy—will lower gasoline costs for American motorists by the equivalent of $230 billion per year. The message couldn’t be clearer: the American people need the economic benefits—and the jobs—that affordable, abundant energy can provide.
We should do everything we can to bolster the American economy, and promote American energy independence. On behalf of all those whose economic opportunities have been delayed or denied due to indecision on Keystone XL, I hope this administration stops dithering, and answers their calls soon.
Republican Bobby Jindal is governor of Louisiana and a former Republican candidate for president of the United States.