Today marks the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline – a decision that has cost more than 100,000 out-of-work Americans a shot at a new, good-paying job. “There’s no other way to put it,” Speaker Boehner said that day, “the President is selling out American jobs for politics.” He then said this:
“This is not the end of the fight. Republicans in Congress will continue to push this because it’s good for our country, and it’s good for our economy, and it’s good for the American people – especially those who are looking for work.”
Indeed, Republicans have pressed on for Keystone, passing the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3) to green light the project, and remove hurdles that could tie up its construction for years. The bill is sitting in the Democratic-led Senate, along with several other pro-growth jobs measures passed by the House. The president, for his part, has been sitting on his hands – adding new delays recently to a decision that should have been made years ago.
It has been more than five years since the Keystone application was first submitted, but the timetable for approving the project – even after the president first rejected it – “has slipped badly,” and could languish until at least November of this year, Reuters reports. The president’s latest punt was not well received by Canadian officials, including Foreign Minister John Baird, who said this week “the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it’s not the right one. We can’t continue in this state of limbo.” If the president doesn’t act soon, Canada has already made clear it will be forced to look to other markets, like China, shipping American jobs and energy overseas.
The president has no excuse for letting this happen. The Keystone pipeline is supported by the vast majority of Americans, labor unions, manufacturers, and even members of the president’s own party. In addition to the thousands of jobs that would be created, the pipeline would bring nearly one million barrels of oil a day to the United States, helping middle class families who are struggling with higher costs on everything from gas to groceries to education. If the president is serious about making this “a year of action,” he should put that pen he has handy to use and approve the Keystone pipeline to help put more Americans back to work and bolster our nation’s energy security.
As Speaker Boehner has said, “Mr. President, What are you waiting for?”