After even another dismal jobs report, and an increase in unemployment claims, the President and his rivals continue to go back and forth about what will stimulate the economy and create jobs. One road not (yet) taken is approving the Keystone Pipeline. Declining the project for 1,700-mile pipeline to deliver crude oil from Canada to refineries in the United States was another decision by the President to hold back the power of the free market. According to the Heritage Foundation:
Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.
Citing environmental reasons, the President put off answering TransCanada, stating that they needed more time to review the project, even though State Department found only minor environmental effects from the Pipeline. The New York Times reports:
The $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a key hurdle today, as the State Department finalized an environmental review that found limited hazards from the controversial Canada-to-U.S. project
For a President who so desperately needs an economic boost, especially considering this past month’s unemployment numbers, what is the rational behind not forging ahead with Keystone? Scared of upsetting the environmentalists is the only plausible answer here, but as we see, the environmental risks are minimal. Even worries about these potential minor environmental consequences are wasted, because the oil will be extracted anyways, it just won’t come to the United States. China has already made it clear that it would be interested in doing business with Canada. So the oil that could go towards helping lower gas prices in the United States would, instead, go to China.
The administration said that the 60 days given was not enough time to review the program, ironic for a president who rammed through the biggest overhaul of healthcare this country has ever seen without giving legislature enough time to read it. The risks are minimal while the potential gains are huge, and by not allowing it the President is keeping us as dependent on foreign oil as ever, and at the same time holding back what would be a real stimulus to our sluggish economy.