How the Keystone Decision Hurts Arkansas
Jan 26 2012
Gas prices are on the rise again and analysts are bracing the country for $4 a gallon prices by spring. Why then, with Americans continuing to feel the pinch of a tough economy, has President Obama denied a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project?
The proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would have transported 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. Tapping into Canada’s oil sands—one of the world’s largest oil reserves—would have helped ease our dependence on the likes of Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil. As global demand for oil surges and the Canadians increase production, the addition of the Keystone pipeline would have allowed us to get reliable and secure oil from our largest trading partner and trusted ally.
The Keystone pipeline would have given us the added benefit of creating jobs here at home. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and every major labor union estimated that this project would have created 250,000 jobs over the course of the project, including 20,000 workers that would have been on the job immediately.
And these are good-paying jobs. The Keystone consortium would have funded the $7 billion pipeline, including the nearly half a billion dollars in salaries. The project would have resulted in the purchase of $6.5 billion worth of materials, services, and other local economic activity.
Instead of green-lighting this major infrastructure project that would have helped to ease both our energy troubles and our jobs crisis, President Obama threw the brakes on it.
The direct impact of the President’s decision in Arkansas is yet to be determined, but it clearly will have a negative effect on our state’s economy. I was just at Nucor’s facility in Blytheville last week. Nucor was slated to make some of the steel for the pipe. This project could have produced an immediate economic benefit for the community of Blytheville and the surrounding communities in Mississippi County.
And it’s not just Nucor. Welspun Tubular Company, which makes pipes for the oil industry, has been producing pipe for the Keystone project. They have 500 miles of pipe that was produced for the project, ready to go, just sitting at the facility. Unfortunately, due to the administration’s delay on the decision, the company already laid workers off in Little Rock. Now that President Obama has officially said no to the project, that number could rise even higher.
President Obama needs to quit pandering to the radical environmentalists. His decisions should be based on what is best for the country, not what he perceives is best for his re-election. If he did, he would recognize that the Keystone pipeline is what is best for America.