House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today expressed deep disappointment in response to President Obama's delay of the Keystone XL pipeline decision. Instead of approving the pipeline, and allowing this construction project to move forward and create a massive infusion of American jobs, the President refused to issue a decision on the Presidential Permit and continued to delay the project by directing the State Department to come up with an alternate route. Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), author of the House-passed legislation calling for a final decision on the project, issued the following statement:
"The Keystone XL pipeline gives the President the unique opportunity to create thousands of jobs and advance our nation's energy security. All he has to do is say 'yes' and the jobs will come. Unfortunately, his plan to re-route the pipeline would delay a final decision until 2013. This is conveniently past election day, but far too long to make workers wait. Today's announcement doesn't get us any closer to a solution and does nothing to increase our nation's energy security or create needed jobs. All it does is kick the can down the road at a time we can least afford such inaction.
"With a sluggish economy and stubbornly high unemployment, more delays are simply unacceptable. The Keystone XL pipeline is a shovel-ready jobs stimulus that won't cost taxpayers a dime. Construction of the pipeline will directly employ 20,000 Americans and create more than 100,000 spin-off jobs. Manufacturers and labor unions are begging the President to approve the pipeline so they can get blue-collar Americans back to work. Each day the President delays the project is another day an American worker remains unemployed.
"This project has undergone more than three years of study since the application was submitted in September 2008, and about a year ago, Secretary Clinton said she was inclined to approve the pipeline. The President says we can't wait for jobs, but his decision to delay this project is jeopardizing the entire project and harming our energy and economic security in the process. Several analysts believe a delay of this magnitude could effectively kill the pipeline. If we don't import Canada's oil, China gladly will. The President's window of opportunity is quickly closing, and by refusing to make a decision, he is all but painting it shut. Bipartisan legislation sailed through the House once this year already, and we won't hesitate to act again to do whatever we can to move this job-creating project forward."