Administration Puts Politics Before Jobs in Keystone Delay, Says U.S. Chamber
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In a decision the U.S. Chamber denounced as “politics trumping jobs,” the Obama Administration announced that it will delay a decision on the construction of a 1,700 mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The decision to delay the pipeline permit sends a signal to all Americans that even in the face of sustained high unemployment and instability overseas, jobs and energy security are not a priority,” says Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. “In spite of extensive and positive studies from the State Department, this is clearly a political decision and everyone knows it. Unfortunately, it will immediately cost more than 20,000 Americans an opportunity to get a job working on the pipeline and hundreds of thousands more jobs in the future.” Donohue appeared on Fox News to discuss the administration's decision (view video below).
The U.S. Chamber this week launched a national advertising campaign urging the administration to reverse its decision to delay a verdict on the pipeline. The Chamber’s ad will appear in national print and online media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today, as well as inside the beltway publications.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has undergone a lengthy and thorough review process in which the State Department itself concluded that the proposed route was the best of the thirteen routes considered. However, the State Department is now backtracking, announcing on November 10 that it will postpone the project until after the 2012 elections and examine alternate routes to avoid the “fragile landscapes in the Sand Hills” of Nebraska.
The economic benefits of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are significant. If completed, the Keystone XL pipeline would have the nominal capacity to deliver more than 900,000 barrels per day of crude oil to U.S. refineries.
According to the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), $349 million to $419 million in total wages would be generated by the project and an average of $140.5 million in annual property tax revenue would be generated for every state in which the pipeline is located.
Even more importantly, this shovel-ready project would create thousands of well-paying jobs and inject billions of dollars into the economy. A June 2011 report by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) concluded that the number of U.S. jobs created or preserved as a result of increased oil sands development in Canada could be expected to grow from 80,000 in 2010 to 600,000 by 2035. In addition, CERI determined that as oil sands production increases in Canada, so will the demand for imported U.S. goods and services, adding an estimated $200 billion - $800 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product between 2010 and 2035.