This Op-ed orginally appeared on Forbes.com
Kowtowing to radical environmentalists, President Obama has consistently ignored his own State Department’s analysis in an effort to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. Over the past month, President Obama has openly posited concerns about Keystone construction, concerns that the State Department has analyzed and answered.
The unnecessarily controversial Keystone XL project would carry over 800,000 barrels of crude oil from Alberta, Canada to American refiners in Oklahoma and Texas. Environmentalists have already pressured President Obama to delay construction of the Keystone pipeline for 1700 days. Given the President’s recent, misleading comments, it is looking increasingly likely that the White House will ultimately kill the project.
In a July 24 interview with the New York Times, President Obama pleads for an objective discussion about Keystone, and then immediately relies on partisan job estimates to undermine the project:
My hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline…and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs.
Revealing the President’s hypocrisy, the depressed 2,000 job creation figure is likely pulled from the Cornell University Global Labor Institute, well-known opponents of the Keystone Pipeline. It is telling that President Obama goes out of his way to ignore his own State Department’s job creation estimates, presumably because they further justify construction of the project. In the fourth, and hopefully final, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the State Department writes:
Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2-year construction period.
42,000 jobs is not a number to chuckle about, as President Obama does in his interview with the Times. The American construction industry has been hit hard during this economic downturn, especially in the Midwest. With the unemployment rate hovering around 7.5 percent, the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs should be cheered, not belittled.
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