The Keystone clock now stands at 2,000 days since Transcanada first filed its application to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
What can be accomplished in 2,000 days? It took 1,605 days to construct the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Greatest Generation needed 1,366 days to fight and win World War II, it took Lewis and Clark 1,121 days to explore the American West, and it only took President Obama and congressional Democrats 428 days to ram through Obamacare and facilitate a government takeover of our health care system.
Yet this administration cannot give a simple “yes” in support of jobs and affordable energy, which brings us to today’s sad milestone in the Keystone XL pipeline saga. After five and a half years, supporters of the pipeline – including Republicans, Democrats, union workers, and American consumers – are asking the president “why?”
Why is this administration continuing to needlessly hold up construction of a project that would create tens of thousands of jobs and enhance our energy security? What reason does the president have to not immediately approve the application after his own State Department has confirmed time and again that the project would not negatively impact the environment or jeopardize safety? There is no explanation. It was clear years ago that this project was in the national interest for American jobs, for economic growth, for energy our security, for safety, and for the environment. But after 2,000 days, the American people are still waiting for the president to make a decision.
The White House continues to make procedural excuses for its delay on a Keystone decision, but the president has the executive power to approve the project today. In fact, the president used his executive powers two years ago to issue an order expediting permitting for the Southern half of Keystone XL. On March 22, 2012, President Obama stood in front of a pile of pipes in Cushing, Oklahoma and proclaimed, “I don’t want the energy jobs of tomorrow going to other countries. I want them here in the United States of America. And that’s what an all-of-the-above strategy is all about.” Now, nearly two years later, still no answer and the president continues to delay.
At the start of the New Year, President Obama called for 2014 to be a “year of action,” and stated in a January Weekly Address that he would “work with Congress this year on proven ways to create jobs, like building infrastructure.” But why not Keystone XL? It is a shovel-ready, private infrastructure project that his own State Department would support over 42,000 jobs. And the best part is it would not cost taxpayers a dime. The president also declared that he has a “pen and a phone” that he will use to take action and make progress in Washington. So why has he not used his pen to approve the pipeline’s permit? And why has he not used his phone to call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take up House-passed legislation that would green light the jobs project?
There is simply no good reason to delay Keystone XL another day, and the president is running out of excuses. The project’s merits speak for itself. There is no question that construction of Keystone XL should move forward. Just how many days will we have to wait for Keystone’s jobs and energy? After 2,000 days, it’s time to build.