President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats are turning their backs on 20,000 jobs by refusing to permit a much-needed oil pipeline to be built from Canada to Texas, Rep. Fred Upton tells Newsmax.
And if Congress doesn’t hurry up and approve the Keystone XL line, 1 million barrels of oil will go to help China’s economy instead of the United States, the Republican chairman of the House Energy Committee told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
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Upton was speaking on the day the House voted to give Obama 60 days to make up his mind on the pipeline. That provision was tied in to a bill that extends the payroll tax holiday while providing for an eventual reduction of unemployment benefits from 99 weeks to 59.
Upton said Americans who know about the pipeline favor it by a ratio of 4 to 1. “This is a private pipeline, they’ll comply with all the new standards, and, by the way, we just passed a bill earlier this week with strong bipartisan support for even better standards for pipelines,” he said. “We will be able to offset foreign oil from coming here by using the Canadian oil.
“The Canadians are going to develop this oil resource up in Alberta. They’re either going to send it here or they are going to send it to China. I’d rather have them send it here where we actually can refine it with our jobs."
Even unions are in favor of the plan and the only opposition comes from the green lobby, which wants to promote alternative sources of energy, he said.
“Those who are against fossil fuels are against it, wanting to raise the price of fossil fuels as well. But we need more oil than what we produce here.
“Canada is one of our largest trading partners. They are a major supplier of oil to this country and they have been able to develop oil from oil sands in Alberta and it is an area where they’re going to be producing perhaps as many as 4 million barrels a day before the end of the decade.
“They’d like to send us 1 million barrels that we can actually refine at U.S. refineries here, so for a lot of us, it’s a win-win. It would reduce our reliance on oil outside of North America and provide really a steady flow of oil that our consumers are going to be able to use for a long time.”
Upton, who represents a district in southwestern Michigan, said the 1,700 mile pipeline proposal has been on the desks of both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for three years.
Fears that the pipeline could leak and pollute the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast, shallow water table that yields nearly one-third of the nation’s irrigation, as well as tap water for much of Nebraska and parts of seven other states, have been allayed by having it rerouted.
“Let’s build it,” Upton said. “It’s a $7 billion project that Americans will be doing and as we look at unemployment, my state is 10.5 percent, and when we look across the country, it’s 8.5 to 9 percent and has been for a long time.
“This is 20,000 jobs that we can help create in this country.”
Upton said Tuesday’s news that the Iranians were threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, the vital oil supply route between it and the Arabian peninsula, for war games, was an even bigger reason why the pipeline is needed.
“If that happens, what happens? The price of oil worldwide dramatically goes up. We have to be prepared for something like that and what this will do with the construction of the Keystone pipeline, we’ll be able to reduce our imports by as much as 1 million barrels a day and have them replenished in essence by our friends the Canadians.”
Upton was emphatic in defending the payroll tax cut as well, saying that without it an American family earning $50,000 a year would see $1,000 less in their paychecks next year.
But he said Republicans are making sure that the tax cuts are fully funded so the Social Security trust fund will not be affected.
“It’s going to be paid for by a pay freeze on all government employees, including members of Congress, and a whole number of different things so that it does not add to the deficit,” he said. “It’s a very important provision that’s part of this bill.
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