In his State of the Union address this week, the president focused his speech on the need to spur economic growth and boost America's middle class. Included in his proposal was the need to make "America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing" and to take "control of our energy future." While these are worthy goals, the president failed to outline the necessary steps to achieve them. Absent from the president's speech were two powerful engines of growth -- the Keystone XL pipeline and the development of America's abundant coal reserves. Rather than harness the potential of the America's rich energy resources, the president sadly continues to block these important opportunities to create jobs and advance our energy security. The administration's "all-of-the-above but nothing-from-below" energy policy is harming the middle class.
The White House has needlessly delayed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in spite of the project's promise to bring jobs and affordable energy to America. It has now been over 1,600 days since the Keystone XL pipeline application was filed with the State Department, and the American people are still waiting for the president to approve this landmark jobs and energy project. The Keystone XL pipeline will help create thousands of middle class jobs. Once constructed, the pipeline would bring nearly a million barrels a day of oil to the United States, helping to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil and providing a stable and affordable energy source to American businesses and consumers.
As the president delays approval of Keystone, his administration is also preventing the development of one of America's most affordable and abundant energy resources. The United States is home to the largest estimated reserves of coal in the world, and coal remains our country's greatest source of electricity. But the future of this important American resource is in jeopardy as the EPA continues to pursue harsh regulations aimed at shutting down coal plants. This regulatory attack on coal has already contributed to numerous plant and mine closures across the country and the loss of thousands of middle class jobs. EPA's recently proposed rule regulating emissions for new power plants will effectively ban the construction of any new coal-fired power plants in America, and the administration is now considering additional rules to regulate emissions at existing power plants. These regulatory policies could mean the end of coal-fired generation in America.
The Keystone XL pipeline and our country's vast coal reserves represent an opportunity to help create jobs, make energy more affordable, and restore a thriving middle class. We have the potential to become North American energy independent and rebuild America's economy, but the president must stop ignoring our energy resources and embrace these positive solutions.