Tens of Thousands of Jobs, Billions in Revenue at Stake, Coffman says
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-CO, today announced that he is cosponsoring a measure that would put tens of thousands of Americans to work immediately by expediting the permitting process of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Coffman said he became a co-sponsor of House Resolution 3548, the North American Energy Access Act introduced by Rep. Lee Terry, R-NE, after the Obama Administration announced that it would delay the final decision on approving the Keystone project until after the 2012 election.
“I was disappointed that President Obama was persuaded in his decision not by the economic benefits of the project, but rather by far-left environmentalist interest groups,” Coffman said. “Millions of Americans are looking for work now while the president waits on this project until after the elections in November 2012, seemingly for purely political reasons.”
The Keystone XL project would deliver an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to processing facilities in the U.S. everyday according to data from the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. It is expected to employ 20,000 construction workers immediately according to a Perryman Group study conducted in July 2010 as well as generate billions of dollars in tax revenue based on findings by the Canadian Energy Relations Institute. In addition, it is expected to lessen the precarious hold sometimes hostile foreign nations have on us with regards to energy.
In early November, the Obama administration announced that it would delay action on the pipeline until after the 2012 elections despite an extensive environmental impact statement (EIS) released by the U.S. Department of State in August. The EIS found that the pipeline project posed “no significant impacts to most resources” along its proposed path. Keystone project leaders have also already agreed to meet or exceed 57 safety standards set by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
H.R. 3548 would replace President Obama’s authority to approve or disapprove the pipeline project and would transfer it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The bill creates a review process by which FERC would approve or disapprove the project based on whether or not it is compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act.
“If we do not act now, the Canadians will look somewhere else to sell their oil,” Coffman said, noting how the Chinese have already expressed a serious interest in the oil and how Canadian politicians have stepped up their support for alternative plans to redirect the oil pipeline to Asian markets. “We must move to permit the construction of the Keystone XL project, otherwise the Canadians will sell their oil to the Chinese, we will be stuck relying on politically unstable countries for our oil, and tens of thousands of immediate job opportunities will be lost.”
In addition to the estimated 20,000 short-term construction jobs created by the Keystone project, it is has been projected that ten times as many permanent jobs could be created by the project in the long run, according the Perryman Group study.
“I am hopeful that this bill will allow us to expedite the permitting process, so construction on the pipeline can begin and immediately bring with it tens of thousands of new jobs,” Coffman said.