President Barack Obama’s decision to pull the plug on construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline could push Canada into the arms of China, creating factories in direct competition with the United States, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, tells Newsmax.TV.
The Obama administration initially put off a decision on the construction of the 1,700-mile-long Keystone pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast until after the election. But December’s payroll tax bill required a decision by Feb. 21. Faced with the deadline, Obama, citing environmental and health and safety issues, decided against the plan.
While TransCanada Corp. can reapply, many fear the decision will lead to the pipeline being built to the West Coast, a move that would benefit countries such as China. Johnson, who serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, described that scenario as a “very real possibility and said Canada has made it very clear that they will have no choice but to do that.”
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“China is the second-largest economy in the world,” he said. “Currently, it is the fastest growing economy in the world because China doesn’t have any regulatory restrictions like we do. They’re not concerned about emission control standards. They’re not concerned about many of the public safety and public health related issues that we are here in America. They’re just concerned about being number one and they’re going to do whatever it takes to be number one.
“I’m not a no-regulation kind of person; when public health, public safety, and national security are involved, we have a responsibility to do things safely, to do things smartly, and our policies should be based on science and fact, not on convenience and political rhetoric. We’ve got an opportunity to see that happen here because of that XL pipeline – 20,000 jobs during the construction phase, many experts estimate upward to another 180,000. … The last thing we want to see happen here is for China to have more access to oil. We’re simply fueling their manufacturing sector, and what are they doing with that? They’re competing with American jobs.”
Johnson said that a number of bills stalled in Congress deal with increasing domestic energy production and, if the president and the Senate would move on them, they could create a situation that occurred when President John F. Kennedy’s called on the country to land a man on the moon.
“We saw millions of jobs created, we saw industries crop up, and we saw young people excited about going into disciplines that would prepare them for careers in space exploration,” he said. “Think about what would happen if this president and this Senate would begin to move forward, passing some of these jobs bills designed to increase domestic energy production, and establish a national energy vision where we could say, ‘Look, over the next 10 years, we’re no longer going to sit on the sidelines. We’re going to establish a goal of becoming energy independent and secure in the United States of America.’
“We would, again, see industries crop up, we would see millions of jobs created because, guess what? We’ve got three trillion barrels of oil that we own already. We don’t have to pay anybody for it; we’ve just got to go harvest it.”
On other issues, Johnson:
-- Rejected claims by the president that the House of Representatives “has been obstructionist to progress, nothing could be further from the truth.” The problem, he said, is in the Senate where jobs bills are “stacked up like cord wood. It’s irresponsible and Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate should be ashamed of themselves.”
-- Said that as far as the GOP presidential battle goes, “all bets are off” in Florida. He added that any of the Republicans in the race would be “a much, much better alternative to the disastrous policies of President Barack Obama and his administration. He must be a one term president.”
-- Said that he is not ready to endorse a candidate before the Ohio primary. “I’m still looking at all of them very, very closely. … It wouldn’t be fair to disenfranchise the people of Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District. Our primary is on March 6th, and I need to give the people that I represent a chance to make their voices heard.”
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