Delay in Approval of Keystone Pipeline is a Delay in Job Creation

On December 23, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 3765, which requires the President to consider issuing a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline within 60 days, unless he determines the project would not serve the interest of the United States. This project would create 20,000 direct jobs and spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs. Additionally, the pipeline will carry 100,000 barrels per day of oil from the U.S. Bakken to Oklahoma and Gulf Coast refineries, while in-turn easing our dependence on foreign countries for U.S. oil supply.

The Keystone Pipeline is an oil pipeline that runs from supply fields in Alberta, Canada through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois. The project would extend the currently operating pipeline, and would create a new crude oil pipeline measuring 1,661-miles long and 36-inches wide.  This new pipeline would begin in Alberta, Canada and extend through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, transporting crude oil to delivery points in Oklahoma and Texas.

This project is a huge opportunity to boost job creation in America. According to some estimates, construction of the pipeline would immediately create 13,000 American jobs including pipefitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators etc. In addition, another 7,000 manufacturing jobs would be created at the onset of construction.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute has estimated that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone Pipeline would create another 179,000 American jobs by 2035. Oklahoma and the five other states, through which the pipeline would pass, are projected to receive $5.2 billion in property taxes from TransCanada in the course of the 100-year operating life of the pipeline.

According to Trans Canada, the constituents of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District will see tremendous benefits from the Keystone Pipeline project. In Oklahoma alone, it is estimated that the project will bring $1.2 billion in new spending in Oklahoma’s economy, increase personal income by $874 million, add more than $25 million in state and local tax revenues, and more than $1 billion in increased gross state product.

President Obama has said job creation is his top priority, so why is he delaying this shovel-ready project that will create tens of thousands of jobs in America? At a time when we are facing an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, I believe the President should make the decision to proceed with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will put thousands of unemployed Americans back to work. The time to act is now. We cannot afford to ignore this opportunity to spur job creation and decrease our dependency on foreign oil.

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