Now, for years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter. And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.
To illustrate this, let me briefly comment on some of the reasons why the State Department rejected this pipeline.
First: The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it. If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come.Read that whole statement by clicking here.
Our businesses created 268,000 new jobs last month. They’ve created 13.5 million new jobs over the past 68 straight months -- the longest streak on record. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent. This Congress should pass a serious infrastructure plan, and keep those jobs coming. That would make a difference. The pipeline would not have made a serious impact on those numbers and on the American people’s prospects for the future.
Second: The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. In fact, gas prices have already been falling -- steadily. The national average gas price is down about 77 cents over a year ago. It’s down a dollar over two years ago. It’s down $1.27 over three years ago. Today, in 41 states, drivers can find at least one gas station selling gas for less than two bucks a gallon. So while our politics have been consumed by a debate over whether or not this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.
Predictably, the decision sparked anger from many.
From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
Area members of Congress roundly condemned President Barack Obama's decision Friday to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline after seven years of review.
Although their statements expressed little surprise at Obama's decision, foreshadowed by comments the president made as a bill approving the pipeline made its way through Congress in January, local lawmakers said the project - for which TransCanada applied in September 2008, when George W. Bush was still president - would not only have provided jobs but a path to energy independence.
Sen. Joe Manchin said the Keystone Pipeline would have provided the safest possible method for transporting oil, as well as a chance to buy oil from an ally, Canada.
"In my opinion, this decision was based purely on political desires and not policy facts," Manchin, DW.Va., said. "The facts are that multiple State Department studies have all concluded that the pipeline will have no significant impact on our environment, and this project would have created over 20,000 direct jobs."Click here to read more.
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