Labor, commerce groups urge Obama to approve Keystone XL


President Barack Obama will soon have a decision to make the Keystone XL pipeline. Given that this project would have a tremendous economic benefit to the country in terms of both job creation and taking a step toward energy independence, the decision shouldn’t be a tough one to make. Unfortunately, President has shot down Keystone once before to appease his radical environmentalist base, a decision that left even the Washington Post questioning his motives.

While environmentalists are firmly against the project, some labor unions spoke out in support of Keystone XL during a press conference yesterday at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM):

Matt Koch, Vice President for Oil Sands and Arctic Issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, pointed out that he heard from local chambers of commerce and small business owners who “understand the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline to American jobs and economic security.” Jobs will be created, tax revenue will increase, and energy supplies will be made more secure.

Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO said approving Keystone XL is the action that would meet President Obama’s promise of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.

The southern leg of the pipeline currently under construction employs hundreds of people, many of whom are skilled craftsmen. One of those craftsmen is union member Billy Rogers. “Working on the Gulf Coast Project has afforded me a good income that allows me to support my family,” he said.

NAM has been a support of Keystone XL for some time. After President Obama rejected the pipeline last year, NAM issued a statement expressing disappointment. “The President’s rejection of the Keystone XL project is a serious blow to job creation and a major setback to energy security,” Timmons said in the statement. “The decision to say no to a project that would create 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs – with an additional 118,000 indirect jobs – defies logic when the U.S. is suffering from high unemployment and a struggling economy.”

Timmons added, “For America’s future, it’s always better to choose sound policy over politics. Instead the Administration followed the political winds and rejected a clear way to create jobs.”

Not much has changed since early last year. The United States economy is still struggling to create enough jobs each month to keep up with population growth and gas prices are once again on the rise. As the Washington Post noted last year and again this year, if President Obama continues to appease radical environmentalists, the oil that will be pumped out of Canada that would have gone to the United States will instead likely go to China.

It’s ideology over sound public policy here, there’s no getting around it. President Obama will either get behind the project or he will ostensibly hand a gift to our biggest economic competitor.

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