Killing Keystone XL Pipeline Un-American

Rep. Tom Marino

Consider this. You are presented with a $7 billion, shovel-ready project that would immediately create 20,000 good-paying, union-scale jobs with the promise of thousands more.

The project has survived intense environmental scrutiny and was twice approved by the U.S. State Department over a three-year period.

This project would create goodwill among a neighbor and strong ally; provide additional work to Texas refineries; and bring nearly a million barrels of secure oil to the United States each day — a step toward reducing our dependence on insecure foreign oil.

Consider the deplorable condition of the economy — $15.2 trillion national debt, a record-high deficit, and an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent — and it would seem that saying “no” to the Keystone XL Pipeline is not only foolish and insensitive, but clearly un-American.

Yet, that is what President Obama is doing, contrary to his own economic advisers.

The decision to kill the pipeline, at least until after the presidential election, is a blatant disregard of the plight of the tens of thousands of hard-working Americans whose futures can be rescued by this project. It shows a lack of vision for U.S. energy independence, a disregard for the need to develop a strong energy policy, and disrespect to neighboring Canada.

The president often tends to personalize national and economic issues. Following his lead, approval of the project would mean 20,000 families would not have to worry about unemployment benefits, mortgage foreclosures or putting food on the table.

Thousands of Americans and Canadians, from union laborers to business owners, are stunned at the stubborn stance the president is taking on a project that is environmentally safe and economically sound.

President Obama has accused congressional Republicans of rushing the project. The only thing we are pushing is a series of policies that will put Americans back to work. A simple nod on the pipeline will immediately take care of tens of thousands of idle workers.

Meanwhile, China, one of our major creditors, is waiting in the wings. For every delay in this project, the possibility increases that this Canadian oil could be shipped to China instead of to U.S. refineries.

President Obama was clearly incensed at last month’s attempt by the Republicans to tie the pipeline to the tax deal. It is obvious he does not care to be forced into making a decision, even if it benefits the people he was elected to serve.

My advice to the president: Put aside your ego, admit you are wrong and do what is right by the American people.

I do not expect that to happen. Once again the president has demonstrated an inability to lead our country and make the necessary decisions to put Americans back to work. He has chosen politics above the American people. President Obama is consistent, at least to his liberal environmentalist base, which obviously takes precedent over American construction workers, steelworkers, and welders who desperately need jobs.

I urge the House leadership to do everything in its power to advance the project. Every legislator should be required to vote for or against the Keystone XL Pipeline without ties to any other measure. Every one of us should have to answer to our constituents: Do we vote in favor of 20,000 new American jobs and a path to energy independence or do we take the un-American route and pander to environmental extremists who do not create jobs nor contribute to a viable energy policy?

We could avoid the time and bureaucracy involved in passing a law. We could avoid it if President Obama would put the employment future of tens of thousands of Americans ahead of his own.