House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today outlined new plans to move forward on the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline, scheduling a hearing one week from today and announcing their intent to move forward on legislation that will restart the project after it was rejected today by President Obama. The committee invited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify on the review her Department has completed as Congress looks at options to restart the project now that the president decided he cannot approve it.
The Keystone XL project is a proposed 1,700 mile extension of an existing pipeline linking energy supplies in Canada to the United States. When complete, the Keystone pipeline system is expected to carry 1.4 million barrels of oil each day to refineries in the U.S., significantly expanding North American energy supplies and reducing our need to import oil from unstable regions of the world. Building the Keystone XL pipeline is projected to directly create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, not to mention the thousands of additional jobs and economic benefit that comes from an infrastructure project of this magnitude and the secure, stable energy supplies it will deliver.
"The president had a choice between jobs and politics, and he is choosing politics. This pipeline has been carefully vetted, environmentally scrutinized, and publicly discussed for more than three years. We can't wait any longer -- and the American people should not have to keep waiting for jobs and energy security," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "Gasoline prices have nearly doubled in the three years since President Obama took office, and they're only expected to go higher moving forward. Canada is our ally and closest trading partner, and it would be foolish to let this pro-jobs, pro-energy project slip through our fingers now. If President Obama cannot say yes to jobs, Congress will."
"I am extremely disappointed that President Obama has decided to reject the Keystone XL pipeline that is expected to create 20,000 jobs and lessen our dependence on oil from hostile sources," said Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee Ed Whitfield (R-KY). "This Administration has repeatedly said that they support energy security and job growth, but with one decision they have rejected both. Americans are looking for leadership that will get behind projects that are bipartisan and good for the economy. The Keystone XL project is supported by large bipartisan majorities in the Congress, but this Administration continues to bow to a minority of environmental extremists, despite the fact that President Obama's own State Department determined that approving this pipeline will have "no significant impact' on the environment. Our nation is looking for leadership and this was not a step that showed it. We are going to make every effort to see to it that this pipeline is built."
"With this lack-of-decision on Keystone, the Obama Administration has made it clear that its core policy is one of procrastination. We simply don't have a decision-maker in the White House these days. Americans want jobs, and Americans want fuel. The president has turned a deaf ear to these needs, choosing to appease only a segment of his base. The White House, blinded by politics and public perception, has turned Keystone from a commonsense issue into a political issue," said Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), author of legislation to expedite approval of the pipeline.