Congress Should Override Obama’s No on Keystone Pipeline

Washington, D.C., January 18, 2012 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute today reacted to President Barack Obama’s decision to block construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline by urging the House of Representatives to revive legislation that would take the decision out of the President’s hands and direct a federal agency to permit the project. The 1700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would move over half a million barrels of oil a day from Canada’s Alberta province and from the Bakken Field in North Dakota to refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

“We urge the House of Representatives to include a provision in the payroll tax cut extension bill that must be enacted by the end of February that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit the project within thirty days,” said Myron Ebell, Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “As oil production in Venezuela and Mexico likely declines dramatically in the next few years, the Obama Administration’s claim that importing more oil from Canada is not in the national interest is preposterous.”

“President Barack Obama’s decision to block construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline should make clear to all Americans that when he says over and over again that ‘we can’t wait’ to create jobs and economic growth, it is merely hypocritical political posturing,” Ebell continued. “Contrary to his phony rhetoric, President Obama’s real goals are to reduce energy supplies, raise energy prices for American consumers, and destroy jobs.”

“By rejecting the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama has made clear that he values radical environmentalists above jobs and even his core union constituency. From the AFL-CIO Building Trade Unions to the Teamsters, labor has voiced their support for the much needed jobs and energy security the pipeline would create,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, Labor Policy Counsel at CEI. “Even Obama’s own President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness said Tuesday we need pipelines for employment and security. The president must change course and make jobs and energy security his first priority.”

Language from Representative Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill, H. R. 3548, was included as a provision in the House of Representatives’ original legislation extending the payroll tax cut. That provision directed FERC to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline within thirty days after the route was finalized with the State of Nebraska. The final bill signed by President Obama replaced the House provision with the Senate version that instead required the President to make a decision on the pipeline within sixty days based on the national interest.