You know, the moment my attention was brought to this situation, I had trouble believing it. The Keystone extension is expected to create 20,000 high-paying construction jobs in the U.S., $6.5 billion in new personal income for Americans and spur over $20 billion in new spending for the U.S. economy. This is a shot in the arm that our struggling economy needs night now, and yet, it gathers dust on the president’s desk.
Why should the Senate pass the NAMES Act? The reasons are quite simple. Not only will the act produce American jobs and income while stimulating our country’s economy (all of which we’d welcome with open arms), it will also further our energy independence from OPEC. We currently import over 4.5 million barrels of oil from OPEC each day. The Keystone extension, if approved, will push 1.29 million barrels of foreign oil out of the Midwest. While the extension will not get us 100% off OPEC oil, it sets in motion an ability to limit our dependence on it.
Detractors from the NAMES Act claim that they don’t want to encourage the development of the Alberta oil sands. Well, I’ve got news for you: the Alberta oil sands are already being developed and will continue to be developed. As far as I know, we in the U.S. continue using high volumes of fossil fuels for our cars, power, appliances, etc., as does every other nation. Petroleum is not difficult to sell, and can be sold in any marketplace.
I ask this of NAMES Act detractors: Will the United States enhance our energy security and economy by partnering with our neighbors to the north, or will we continue relying on geopolitically unstable and hostile regions of the world? If we continue avoiding this question, the Keystone developer will eventually reject our bureaucracy and route these vast oil supplies to other energy-hungry nations, like China.
The president has an opportunity to show that his administration will not be one of indecision and uncertainty by either approving or disapproving this project. Because the president won’t decide, I ask the Senate to demand a decision from him. After waiting nearly three years, a simple “yes” or “no” isn’t too much to ask, is it?