President Obama recently made some disparaging remarks indicating a renewed opposition to final permitting for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The president has previously indicated a likelihood to approve the final pipeline permit – specifically during election season in 2008 and again in 2012 – only to backtrack once the Oval Office was secured each time.
The president is in a difficult place as he must serve two masters: the environmental lobby that overwhelmingly supported both his campaigns, as well as the reality that Keystone is a shovel-ready project that could help the country through this economic recovery.
Opponents of the project in the renewable energy lobby reject the initiative, claiming that pipeline construction is not “green.” But when other alternatives are considered, Keystone XL is clearly the best option for the environment in both the short- and long-term.
If President Obama fails to approve the final permit to allow construction to begin, Canada has made it clear that it will proceed with developing Alberta’s oil sands with or without an American partnership. If the U.S. rejects the pipeline, the energy sources will likely be piped to Canada’s west coast for tanker shipment to China, causing higher emissions than pipelines.
There are over two million American construction workers out of work right now; these are the middle-class jobs held by working families that return the greatest portion of their income back into the market. I implore President Obama to put the best interests of the country first and allow construction to begin, now.