With unemployment in this country at approximately 8 percent, the economic benefit of building the pipeline and infusing jobs into our struggling economy is crucial. Construction of the pipeline would generate 20,000 shovel-ready jobs, and according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, pipeline operations would create 179,000 American jobs by the year 2035.
The U.S. currently relies on imports for 45 percent of our oil demand. Since oil is a global commodity and subject to the forces of supply and demand, the increased supply from the Keystone Pipeline will undoubtedly have an effect on domestic gasoline prices. Responsible development of our domestic natural resources like the Utica Shale – as well as increased supply from our Canadian friends – will help our nation achieve energy independence and lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil that hold us hostage in some instances and are hostile toward the United States.
Approximately two-thirds of the price of gasoline is determined by the global market price of crude oil, according to the Energy Information Administration. Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will strengthen our energy partnership internationally and allow us to have a positive impact on global energy demands. The Keystone XL Pipeline would deliver an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to the U.S. from Canada, our largest source of oil.
Despite the tremendous benefits from the project, the president has politicized the issue by intentionally delaying the issuance of the permit in fear that his decision will upset his political allies. The permit application was received by the State Department in 2008, providing the president with nearly four years to make a decision. Further, the project has been studied extensively for the past four years, and it has been determined to be both environmentally sound and the safest way to transport oil. For example, the proposal has been rerouted to protect areas in Nebraska that were determined to include environmentally sensitive aquifers. What is the hold up?
Now is not the time to stall a fully-vetted project for the purpose of avoiding political backlash. I have voted to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline permit and will continue to support the project, which will create jobs and lower gas prices without harming the environment.