By Thomas Fletcher
The ball moved back into President Obama’s court last Friday when the State Department issued its final environmental impact statement, in which they raised no major concern over the Keystone Pipeline project. A little less than a year after they released their initial environmental impact statement on the proposed route for the pipeline, the State Department affirmed its previous findings.
Running out of excuses, the administration is determined to avoid making a decision on a project that will create tens of thousands of shovel ready jobs and have a minimal impact on the environment. The President shouldn’t waste any more time in delaying the Keystone Pipeline.
Almost 2,000 days have passed since the application for the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted. It seems the only thing holding up the President from making a decision is one word: politics. Even though the project enjoys broad bipartisan support from both chambers of Congress and the general public, the President seems determined not to anger his political base and donors by approving Keystone. The administration has slow walked this from the beginning and even after the State Department issued its final report, White House Chief of Staff, Dennis McDonough dismissed it, calling it “one department with a study.”
To understand why Keystone is a no-brainer for the President let’s recap:
- The proposed project would create 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-2 year construction period
- If the United States doesn’t refine Canadian oil, another country will
- GHG emissions would NOT differ “substantially” from current conditions
- The House and Senate have approved the project overwhelmingly
The President says that he wants to create jobs in America, but his silence on Keystone says otherwise. During his State of the Union Address, the President called for 2014 to be a year of action. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline presents the President with the perfect opportunity to put his words into action and get Americans back to work.