The United States sits on the precipice of a global energy revolution. Since we began increasing domestic production by utilizing new and innovative drilling techniques like fracking, oil-producing nations like Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have begun to fear losing global market share, putting the United States in a prime position to lead. But we can’t become the global energy leader if we leave common-sense, job-creating energy infrastructure projects on the table. Yet the president’s total lack of leadership this week, acting to veto the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, is threatening to do just that.
The president says this pipeline hasn’t been studied enough, but he fails to mention that his own State Department took years to review the environmental and economic impacts of the pipeline. Maybe that’s because the president doesn’t like what they discovered. The State Department’s review found this project would create 42,000 jobs and produce minimal risk to the environment. However, the study found that continuing to move this product by rail instead of by pipeline, the president’s de facto position by refusing to act, poses a significant environmental risk. This hasn’t changed his position.
The American people want this project built. Four consecutive polls ranging from last May to this January show a remarkable durability in support, demonstrating between 56 to 60 percent of the American people want this pipeline to become a reality. That’s notwithstanding the president’s political posturing on this issue.
And we know politics is the driver of this action. The president is under immense pressure from environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club to continue blocking this project despite its many positive benefits. Putting these organizations in the driver’s seat of our nation’s energy policy is a dereliction of responsibility by the president, showing he’s less interested with governing than he is with playing politics. My colleague, Sen. David Vitter, put it best: “Vetoing this legislation is just sheer political spite.”
Congress isn’t going to give up. In the coming weeks, we will seek to override this president’s veto, which will have my full support. We can’t simply sit back and allow foreign competitors to gain access to this product that should be refined right here in America. Now is our chance to grasp this opportunity that could be the first step in achieving American energy security. I believe that’s worth making a stand.
congressman, 3rd District