Rep. John Shimkus tells Newsmax it is “ridiculous” that the Obama administration has not yet approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian oil to the United States.
The Illinois Republican, chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee, also says the president’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, will be approved — but warns that the EPA will continue to do “great harm” to the coal industry.
A new report asserts that the Keystone pipeline will not have the devastating impact that environmentalists feared.
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In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Shimkus was asked if the report will encourage Obama to approve the project.
“I hope so,” says Shimkus, who was first elected in 1996.
“It’s really ridiculous when you think about the fact that the Canadian oil will go somewhere else and maybe go west to China [if the United States doesn’t approve the pipeline construction].
“The cheapest, easiest way to transport crude is through pipelines. We can only hope this is a sign that the president is going to move forward and we will move forward on energy independence and real jobs at no government cost.”
As to how quickly the pipeline might be constructed, Shimkus says: “The southern part of the pipeline, in Oklahoma and Texas, is already being built because he did allow that permitting process to go through and didn’t stop that.
“But he should have done this a year, year-and-a-half ago. It was a slam-dunk then. It is a slam-dunk. There’s no reason other than the environmentalist extremism that has delayed the creation of arguably 20,000 to 40,000 jobs,” Shimkus says.
Asked if there is bipartisan support within his subcommittee and the Energy and Commerce Committee as a whole for this project, Shimkus responds: “We’ve had numerous votes from the floor and I’m sure we’ve got a pretty good group of Democratic votes. So on the House side, there’d be huge bipartisan support.”
President Barack Obama has nominated McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, to be the new EPA administrator, replacing Lisa Jackson, who left the post Feb. 15.
Assessing the nominee, Shimkus tells Newsmax: “She can be better than the last administrator. I find her approachable and friendly and she at least has some appreciation because of her work in state government, that there’s a cost-benefit analysis.
“Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to use all the force of law and really do great harm to coal and electricity generation by coal in this country. But this appointment process is the president’s right. If we didn’t like these folks we shouldn’t have re-elected him.
“The Senate’s going to do their advice and consent, she’s going to get through it, and I’d rather try to work with her than cause a great lapse in a relationship,” Shimkus says.
“Administrator Jackson ran the EPA in a very tough manner to employees. I just don’t think you’ll see that from Gina. It’s a new day, a new person. Hopefully she will at least understand jobs and the economy.”
In any case, Shimkus adds, “natural gas is kind of the future. It’s something that really can’t be stopped. The states are moving on their own and setting some pretty good standards. It’s going to bring revenue. It’s going to make North America energy independent, so that’s good.”
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