President Obama should stop delaying on Keystone XL approval

Crossroads GPS joins the more than 100 business organizations who this week wrote to President Obama to urge him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as possible.

In December 2011, Crossroads GPS called on all Members of Congress to stand with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in their call for the end-of-year “tax extender” bill to include language to accelerate the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Crossroads GPS was pleased to see that Congress subsequently included a provision to do exactly that, and now the question is on President Obama’s desk once again.

The case for approval is clear.  The 1,700 mile pipeline’s construction will produce as many as 20,000 high quality direct jobs in the next two years, along with tens of thousands of additional jobs in related industries.  Moreover, it will bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast every day, further deepening our relationship with the nation’s largest trading partner.

Continued delay would be inexcusable.  Environmental questions have been asked and answered by the State Department, which concluded that the project would be far safer than domestic pipelines. Some object that the final route has not been decided, but the recent law passed by Congress (and signed by the president) makes clear that the State Department will have the necessary time to make that determination.  The State Department already has conducted a thorough vetting of public opinion, and the states most immediately impacted are ready to proceed.

Many analysts have argued that President Obama is dithering because of objections from segments of the environmental movement. Those activists do not seriously challenge the State Department’s conclusion that the pipeline would be safe. Instead, they ask the president to block American economic development in order to discourage Canada from developing their rich oil sands market.  The president should reject these arguments, not only in the interest of our economic security, but because Canada has the sovereign power to develop its natural resources and will do so whether we build the pipeline or not.  If the president bows to the environmental activists, this enormous supply of oil would be put on ships and sent to China instead.

American business recognizes the wisdom of approving this pipeline, and so does American labor.  Will our nation’s economic future really be hamstrung by a president who would rather kowtow to the ideological preferences of a cadre of environmental activists?  Crossroads GPS urges the president to put the nation’s interests first and to approve the pipeline immediately so that Americans can get back to work.