Energy equals jobs. Our economy in southwestern Pennsylvania is proof-positive that developing our own energy resources leads to job creation.
The Keystone XL pipeline project is the "granddaddy" of energy-related job creators.
A study by the Perryman Group showed the $7 billion, 1,700 mile Keystone XL oil pipeline will create 20,000 good-paying American jobs (13,000 building trade jobs, 7,000 manufacturing jobs) and support over 100,000 indirect jobs along the pipeline route.
So why did President Barack Obama nix the Keystone pipeline?
Concerns raised by the Environmental Protection Agency about the pipeline's route through the Nebraskan Sand Hills were resolved by the state's legislature and governor. Nebraska elected officials have repeatedly said construction could begin while the details on re-route through the state are finished. Moreover, there is no federal role -- and no permit from the executive branch required -- for an intra-state pipeline like the Nebraska re-route.
The State Department was ready to give the green light. There has been bipartisan support for its construction in Congress. And in August, the final federal environmental review was supportive.
The momentum was there.
Then, last Wednesday, after four years of study, the president denied the permit, a move likely to bolster his reelection prospects among environmentalists and more liberal members of his party who have been dead-set against the project from the beginning.
The president's authority to deny the project was permitted only if he believed it was not in the best interests of the United States. When Iran threatens to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of world oil travels, and 13 million Americans are out of work, how is a stable energy source and 100,000-plus jobs not in the best interest of our country?
America and Southwestern Pennsylvania need these pipeline jobs. From local steel mills to machine shops to factories, the pipeline project will indirectly impact our regional economy.
The Keystone pipeline project requires no taxpayer money, a far cry from the trillion dollars of our children's money wasted on a failed stimulus plan that did nothing to reduce long-term unemployment.
By denying the permit, the president has allowed OPEC to tighten its stranglehold on the United States economy. If we are ever going to stop sending $129 billion of foreign aid to OPEC nations by buying their oil, we must seek out stable energy sources that break our dependence on Middle East oil.
The president's decision to punt is significant. It means that Canada, with its oil surplus, will look to sell its reserves to other nations, namely to Chinese state-owned refineries where they will support Chinese jobs.
Congress has repeatedly tried to get the Keystone project moving. This past summer as the State Department was muddling its way through year three of reviewing the Keystone application, the House of Representatives approved legislation (H.R. 1938) to require a "yes or no" decision by November. The White House balked, promising the review would be completed by the end of the year.
Because of repeated delays and indecisiveness, the Energy and Commerce Committee will soon take up a bill that I'm sponsoring to strip the White House of its stand-alone authority to approve the pipeline.
Here's the bottom line: I am going to do everything possible to overturn this decision. We need jobs and we need energy security. A North American pipeline is a no-brainer. It's not only dismaying, but infuriating, that politics, again, was put before the best interest of this country.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Upper St, Clair, represents the 18th Congressional District.