Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee took to the House floor today to urge President Obama to approve the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring much-needed jobs and secure energy supplies to the United States.
This summer, the House passed H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, requiring the president to issue a decision on the pipeline by November 1, 2011. Democratic opponents in the Senate and White House mocked the bill and called it "unnecessary" due to the president's stated intent to issue a decision by the end of the year. Yet, two days after the bill's deadline, it appears the administration could use that push to action. Just yesterday, a State Department official admitted the president's decision could slip into next year, extending delays on a review process which has already lasted over three years.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), the author of H.R. 1938, expressed frustration over the president's delay and urged the Senate to pass similar legislation: "I am the author of one of the bills sitting in the Senate, the forgotten 15. This is a bill that will instantaneously create 20,000 jobs and spinoff a potential 100,000 to 200,000 additional jobs and put us on the path to energy security. I'm talking about the pipeline bill, the Keystone XL pipeline. That bill was passed on a massive bipartisan vote, 279-174."
John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee, endorsed the pipeline as a solution for job creation and energy security: "We continue to import oil from countries that are not our closest friends. Further blocking of this pipeline development will only increase foreign oil imports from far off places that are not our neighbor. This pipeline application is a jobs plan. Five major labor unions have endorsed this project. There would be 20,000 construction jobs. As refineries expand, there's an estimated 100,000 new jobs as a whole."
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) warned the U.S. could lose this valuable oil supply to China if the president does not act quickly: "If we do not seize this opportunity, China will gladly take the oil from Canada that the Canadians want us to have. While the president tours the nation promoting a half trillion-dollar stimulus plan, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline remains stalled. Mr. Chairman, the president can jumpstart our economy and stop the political circus by approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The ball is in his court."
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) touted the pipeline as a shovel-ready project to create blue-collar jobs and reduce our deficit: "We are going to be creating jobs by this one project in the three areas that those who are now unemployed are principally employed in. This is not done with government subsidies. It does not put the taxpayer at risk. Indeed, it will generate more tax, not by increasing rates, but by increasing income."