President Obama should kick off his ‘year of action’ by approving Keystone XL

Sen. Mitch McConnell Senate Republican Leader
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The Obama administration released the results of a long-awaited study on the Keystone pipeline Friday afternoon. And yet again, the administration’s own researchers came to the conclusion that Keystone would have a negligible net impact on the environment. That means the president’s latest excuse for delaying a decision on this vital pipeline has now vanished.

It’s now time for the president to follow through on his promise to make 2014 a “year of action” — to follow through on his pledge to use his “pen and his phone” to get things done.

If he’s serious, he’ll use the pen he keeps talking about to immediately sign off on this massive, shovel-ready project that promises to create thousands of jobs.

The time for the delays and political games is way past over.

For more than five years, the president has put off making a decision on Keystone. Why? Because of pressure from environmental extremists.

This, despite the fact that study after study has shown the pipeline’s net environmental impact to be virtually nil.

This, despite the fact that a solid majority of Americans and many prominent members of President Obama’s own party in Congress support its development.

This, despite the fact that countless Americans are desperate for just the kind of stable, high-paying jobs Keystone would provide.

And this, despite the fact that Keystone’s approval would likely lead to less dependence on overseas oil.

All of these are good results. They are things the American people want.

If the far left doesn’t particularly like Keystone’s jobs and energy — well, too bad.

President Obama was elected to serve all Americans, and approving Keystone would benefit America in an immediate and tangible way.

In an era when bipartisanship is not always easy to come by, Keystone is something that prominent members of both parties support.

It’s just common sense.

The Keystone XL pipeline is the single largest shovel-ready project in America. It’s ready to go, right now.

If the president is really serious about using his pen to foment a “a year of action” on jobs and the economy, he’ll act quickly to approve this critical initiative that won’t cost taxpayers a penny to build but will bring thousands of private-sector jobs to folks who are struggling to find work.

For my part, I will continue to push for immediate consideration of bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Lee Terry and Senator John Hoeven, that would get the pipeline built and prevent radical groups from tying it up in the courts, should the president approve the project.

I hope he will.

In light of today’s report, Americans deserve to know: Is the president for a project that will immediately create thousands of good American jobs and lower energy prices with virtually no net impact on the environment, as his own administration concedes? Or will he bow to the extreme elements of his base?

Only President Obama can decide. Only he wields the pen.

But the time for Keystone excuses passed long ago. America deserves an answer now.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the Senate’s Republican leader.