Democrats in the House and Senate are wasting no time in putting some distance between themselves and President Barack Obama’s decision not to allow construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Among those opposed to the president’s decision is Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. The “Obama administration’s decision to deny or delay the Keystone Pipeline project from moving forward is disappointing and frustrating,” Begich said. “I’ll continue to push the administration to approve this jobs-creating project.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., lamented Obama’s decision as a “major setback for the American economy, American workers, and America's energy independence.”
“As our country has a continued need for oil, it only makes sense to me that we would buy it from our friends in Canada, rather than continuing to buy it from countries around the world that seek to do us harm,” Manchin said. “Why make a decision that could push Canada to build a pipeline to the West Coast of North America that would benefit countries such as China, not the United States? I truly believe any issues surrounding the pipeline could have been resolved if we had chosen to work together, but instead, the Administration has taken a different path.”
The president initially had put off the decision until after the November elections, but congressional Republicans forced his hand when they put a provision in December’s payroll tax bill that required a decision by Feb. 21.
However, the issue is not yet dead. The company that would build the pipeline, TransCanada Corp., has promised to reapply.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., also disagreed with the president’s decision and dismissed environmental concerns.
“I strongly disagree with President Obama’s decision to postpone the Keystone pipeline project,” he said. “This project will sustain and create jobs in the United States. I also believe that in this day and age it can be done in a way that protects the environment.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said the “unrest in the oil-rich Middle East and in places like Libya is proof that we have got to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. It’s a threat to our economy, national security and way of life.”
“This Canada-to-Gulf pipeline will carry almost one million barrels of oil a day from our North American neighbor and ally in Canada, to refineries on the Gulf, creating jobs here at home and making our nation more energy independent, which is why I’m disappointed the president rejected the project,” Ross added. “The pipeline has so far met all of the environmental standards required for its construction and I strongly urge the president to reconsider his decision. If not, I urge the White House to work with all parties involved to find common ground, such as an alternative route, to build this pipeline as safely and as soon as possible.”
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