The AFL-CIO explains its support: “The American construction industry has suffered greatly. The national unemployment rate for construction workers remains above 13 percent and far too many of our members have lost homes and are struggling to put food on the table. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a life line.”
And the bi-partisan support the pipeline attracts in Congress, clearly signals that legislators understand the economic benefits that are generated throughout the supply chain and the economy down to the local level.
The oil pipeline from Canada will carry 830,000 barrels of oil daily to US refineries on the Gulf Coast. That will help strengthen trade relations with Canada, which already is our largest foreign supplier of oil, and reduce the nation’s dependence on other foreign sources of oil, many of which are hostile to the United States—such as Venezuela, with oil “dirtier” than that from Canada.
Obama’s green supporters argue for denying approval for construction on the basis of increased carbon dioxide emissions, and Obama has taken a deep bow toward them by insisting that he will veto pipeline construction if it “significantly” contributes to high emissions, but he didn’t define “significantly.”
The XL pipeline has been subjected to four environmental studies, and as lately as March of this year the State Department has said it presents no meaningful environmental risks.
One reason is that if Canada cannot send its oil to the United States, there is talk of building a pipeline to Canada’s coast and exporting the oil by tanker to Asia, particularly China. Thus any US action to deny pipeline construction would not affect emissions. In fact, US environmental controls are much more stringent that any found in developing countries like China.
The case for the Keystone XL pipeline is straight forward. Jobs will be created. Families will benefit. Local businesses and professions will gain business. Governments will increase their tax receipts. The US economy will be fueled to a larger extent by oil from a nearby friendly country, thereby improving national security. Coupled with increased oil production in this county, we will move closer to energy self-sufficiency—while additional exports of petroleum products will help reduce the trade deficit.
The President should end the polarization of energy policy and begin uniting the country by supporting the real job creators. He should give the go-ahead for the XL pipeline immediately.
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