By Peter Roskam
Five years ago today, the Keystone XL pipeline project was sent to the Obama Administration for approval. That's right, today marks the fifth year anniversary of the president stalling, delaying and denying building a huge pipeline project that represents jobs, investment and access to more affordable energy.
In these five years, the Keystone XL pipeline project has garnered a lot of powerful support. Governors from states that the pipeline will go through have approved it. Both the House of Representatives and the Democrat-led Senate voted to approve the project. It has gotten a strong majority of Americans' support and is even supported by labor unions. The pipeline has also undergone extensive environmental impact reviews that conclude that there would be no significant effects. And still, the president is letting the Keystone application collect dust on his desk.
At a time when our economy is struggling to grow jobs, the Keystone XL pipeline project will create 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. It will also decrease our reliance on volatile foreign countries, getting us closer to long-term energy independence. The pipeline will be the safest and most advanced operation in North America, transferring oil five times safer than rail and will make energy more affordable for hard working American families.
Now, when Americans are dropping out of the labor force in droves -- making our workforce participation rate the lowest in three decades -- we need to be doing all that we can to bring more jobs to our communities, grow our manufacturing base and lower the cost of energy for American families. The Keystone XL pipeline is the kind of project that embraces America's vast natural resources and advances in technology that can help fuel an energy boom and give a much-needed boost to the American economy. This is what we should be cultivating -- a clear path for job creation, innovation and private investment in energy right here at home.
Encouragingly, President Obama has claimed to support energy independence and an all-the-above energy strategy. Unfortunately, his record shows otherwise. Since taking office, he has doled out billions of dollars to now-bankrupt green energy companies in what amounts to government gambling in the private marketplace using our hard-earned tax dollars. The president has declared huge portions of offshore areas off limits, decreased responsible oil and gas exploration permits on our federal lands and assigned as many as 13 different federal agencies to stifle the hydraulic fracturing industry in a mountain of regulations. At a time when we have the technology to produce more affordable energy in an environmentally conscious way, President Obama is standing in the way in order to appease a narrow group of opponents whose criticisms of the project are not borne out by the facts and extensive environmental impact reviews.
What America needs is a vision for an energy future that will jumpstart domestic energy production and put thousands of Americans back to work. The place to start would be immediately approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. This way, we can unleash our energy potential, decrease energy prices across the nation and take a step closer to energy independence.