Americans are worried about high gasoline prices and slow economic growth. The State Department has a rare opportunity to mitigate both of these problems at once — by signing off on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Keystone pipeline, which would transport crude oil from Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas, would secure vital resources from a trusted ally. It would also stimulate the economy, increase government revenue, and create 13,000 high-wage construction jobs over the next two years and 340,000 jobs over the next five years in manufacturing and service industries that would benefit from the pipeline’s construction.
Because the pipeline originates in a foreign country, it needs to be approved by the State Department, which is under pressure from environmental groups to block the project. Opponents of the pipeline cite familiar and unconvincing arguments about greenhouse gas emissions, but it is hard to see how blocking the Keystone pipeline from being built would be a good thing for the environment. Canada has vast oil resources that it will develop with or without a pipeline to the U.S., which is why a recent Department of Energy report concluded that construction of the Keystone pipeline would not change global refinery carbon dioxide and greenhouse has emissions. Canadian officials have said that if environmentalists scuttle the Keystone pipeline, investors will simply build a new pipeline to the coast and sell their crude to China — effectively shipping jobs and billions in economic activity overseas. The only unanswered question is whether Canadian crude will be refined in Oklahoma or in China.
Claims that the Keystone pipeline would be unsafe are entirely disingenuous — the Keystone pipeline has met or exceeded every federal safety requirement. In fact, there is ample evidence that it would be the safest pipeline ever constructed.
The Keystone pipeline is essentially a cost-free stimulus. Americans who want to realize the pipeline’s long-overdue economic benefits should contact the State Department, which is currently accepting comments. Influential organizations like the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and National Wildlife Federation have been urging their large memberships to kill the pipeline. Proponents of the pipeline must push back against these environmental groups. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake.
Christopher Prandoni is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom, an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform.