If the president is serious about his State of the Union promise to “grow the middle class,” he needs to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Last year, the administration blocked construction of the project, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canadian shale formations to American refineries in the Gulf Coast. The White House recently announced it would not reconsider Keystone approval for another six months. However, newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has hinted officials may decide sooner.
Keystone XL is a clear win-win for consumers and producers. Construction and operation of the pipeline would create an estimated 20,000 jobs. U.S. refineries would produce more gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products that are part of countless consumer products. And increasing the southward flow of crude oil would help cement energy relations with Canada and reduce imports from less reliable countries. Keystone XL would help move this country toward less dependence on Middle East oil — a stated goal of U.S. policy since the 1973 Arab Embargo 40 years ago.
A chief criticism of the pipeline is that it would contribute to global climate change. The Sierra Club even condones “civil disobedience” — that is, breaking the law — to stop the project. Indeed, the club's president recently joined a gaggle of C- and D-list celebrities at a Keystone protest where invite-only participants zip-tied themselves to the gates of the White House. But the truth is that burning all of the pipeline's deliveries will have no measurable effect on global climate, according to official climate models.