Times are tough. Millions of Americans are unemployed, millions more have stopped looking for work, and even families with jobs are struggling to make ends meet. As a parent and grandparent myself, I am sensitive to this and am looking for solutions to remove that stress and make it easier for North Carolinians to find good work and thrive.
High energy costs are crushing to job creation and price-conscious families. Filling up the gas tank accounts for the largest energy cost in many household budgets. While energy innovation certainly plays a role in powering America’s future, the cars most Americans have parked in their driveways require something simpler. That’s why Republicans are working to leverage proven solutions to lower the price of gas, particularly by increasing our domestic oil supply.
Thankfully, such solutions aren’t hard to find. Oil and natural gas are in our backyard – and in larger quantities than we’d once thought. Unfortunately, the Congressional Research Service reports that since 2007 there has been no growth in oil production on federal lands, and natural gas production has fallen by 33 percent.
Accessing additional energy resources doesn’t have to be done alone. American energy independence will be more easily achieved with the help of our friends. Canada has been experiencing its own oil boom and is eager to have us share in their bonanza. In order to access this North American oil, we need to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Many Americans have heard conflicting arguments about Keystone over the four-and-a-half years it’s been delayed. The pipeline would connect new oil production in Canada, North Dakota and Montana with oil refineries in Texas. Under former Secretary Clinton’s leadership, the U.S. State Department concluded in 2011 that the pipeline would have “no significant” environmental impacts. Activists who believe stopping the pipeline will keep oil in the ground are wrong. Canada is pursuing new markets in Asia and will not be deterred from selling their oil across the Pacific if the Keystone XL never breaks ground.
The Keystone XL Pipeline would be capable of transporting more than 800,000 barrels of oil to U.S. refineries each day - nearly half the amount we import daily from the Middle East. But prompt construction of this truly shovel-ready project is needed just as much for the boon to our oil supply as the jobs it would create. 20,000 direct jobs would be added and as many as 100,000 more American jobs could be indirectly supported by Keystone. That is why the Laborers International Union of North America called the pipeline “a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women.”
Recognizing that Americans want jobs, affordable energy and lower gas prices, a bipartisan majority in Congress supports the pipeline. Even 17 Senate Democrats voted for Keystone. Unfortunately, President Obama doesn’t agree. While his Administration wages a war on American coal, the President’s wrong-headedness on Keystone leaves America negotiating for oil from repressive foreign regimes, and ignoring reliable North American sources that support jobs and lower costs for America and her allies.
Since the President’s latest rejection of Keystone, the route for the pipeline has been modified and approved by every state through which it would run. A new application to build the pipeline has been filed, and the House of Representatives voted this spring on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, to approve and finally build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
I strongly support building Keystone and responsibly utilizing America’s resources, which is why I cosponsored H.R. 3 and supported two additional bills in recent weeks to expand safe off-shore American energy exploration. It is my hope the strong bipartisan support with which each passed the House encourages President Obama to finally act in America’s energy interests.
After waiting the better part of five years, America knows it is time to support American energy. It’s time to build!