Just a few months ago, the State Department was signaling support for the final project. And then, thousands of extreme environmental activists and some of their Hollywood friends surrounded the White House in opposition. The protestors demanded that President Obama deny the project, threatening to derail his re-election bid. Since then, the extreme environmental movement has gone into overdrive, threatening their support for Mr. Obama in next year’s election. As a result, the President made a calculated political decision to punt the decision until after next year's election.
The simple fact of the matter is that announcing a decision would force President Obama to choose between two groups in his political base: labor unions and environmental activists. Important moments demand leadership that puts the needs of the country above personal political ambitions. The decision on whether or not to approve this project should be solely based on careful and objective review. Political gains or losses have no place in a decision of this magnitude. As the saying goes, you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
America needs a leader who places the needs of this country over politics. The Keystone XL pipeline can reduce our reliance on energy that comes from hostile nations in political turmoil, while also creating jobs and stabilizing our energy supply. Canada has an abundance of energy they want to sell to us, but they cannot, and will not, wait forever. Canadian Prime Minister Harper recently indicated that this delay will force Canada to look for another customer that wants their product. They won’t have to look far: The Chinese have already signaled their willingness to be that customer.
The delay implemented by the President almost assures that China will benefit from our friendly allies abundant oil supply, at the cost of our national security. His delay means that America will continue to be forced to purchase oil from countries whose supplies could be threatened and therefore are unreliable. The delay also means that out of work Americans have even less hope that they will have the chance to earn a living for their families.
As the Calgary Herald astutely pointed out this week, “President Barack Obama last week sacrificed 20,000 jobs to save one – his own. This should come as no surprise, for fact and reason often fall victim to politics.”
Rep. Olson serves Texas's 22nd district.