In his speech this week on how to improve the economy, President Obama said, "I will welcome ideas from anyone across the political spectrum." One bipartisan idea he should act on immediately is approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is supported by industry, labor unions, Republicans, and Democrats because it would create thousands of jobs and have minimal impact on the environment.
Beyond Keystone, we stand ready to work with President Obama to develop our vast natural resources, which can be our top competitive edge in the global economy. In Mississippi, cheap reliable energy is essential to revitalizing manufacturing.
Washington has a role to play. Regulations must ensure safety and accountability but not cause unnecessary economic damage. The House got it right this week by passing a bipartisan bill to prevent the EPA from labeling safe, recycled coal ash as a hazardous waste. Coal ash has been safely used for decades in the production of cement, drywall, asphalt, bricks, and other products. Labeling coal ash as hazardous would drive up costs and kill jobs for virtually zero environmental benefit.
We need more bipartisan legislation like the coal ash bill and approval of the Keystone pipeline because a smart approach to energy means more jobs, a stronger economy, and less dependence on unstable regions of the world. With the right approach from Washington, America can lead the energy revolution through the 21st century and beyond.
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