President Barack Obama's politically motivated decision to block construction of a 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas is amazingly shortsighted for reasons of both jobs and energy production.
The $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would bring oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. In light of the president's unwillingness to allow thorough development of the United States' own oil supplies, bringing in more oil from friendly Canada is the next best thing -- and is far wiser than maintaining our too-high reliance on oil from anti-American nations in the Middle East.
We have, moreover, no reason to believe the pipeline cannot be built and maintained in a way that safeguards the environment as it crosses mainly rural areas of six states.
But in an apparent bid to placate environmental extremists who back him, the president blocked construction of the pipeline -- at least until some indefinite time in the future.
That not only denies the United States a source of energy that could bring down high gasoline prices, but it kills potentially tens of thousands of direct and indirect U.S. jobs linked to construction of the pipeline.
Does Obama truly believe that in a time of sky-high unemployment that affects millions of Americans, it is sensible to shelve a project that would create jobs and get people off government assistance?
Sadly, he set those issues aside in caving in to environmental activists who had threatened to halt their campaign donations if he approved the pipeline. In doing so, however, he alienated another group of his supporters: labor unions that wanted the pipeline built.
"The score is job-killers two, American workers zero ...," Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, told The Associated Press. "Blue-collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this."
Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga was disgusted by the president's decision.
"Outside of election year politics, there is no good reason to block this project, especially when we really need the energy and the jobs the pipeline would generate," he wrote in a news release.
Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga was also appalled. Obama rejected the project, he said in a release, "to please a fringe group he needs for re-election." That "exemplifies the President's desire for re-election over what our country truly needs. ... It has become much harder to believe anything President Obama says regarding job creation in this country."
It is vital that the American people vote Obama out of office in November and vote in a president who will promote job creation and greater U.S. energy independence.