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By Congressman Robert Hurt
As I have traveled across the Fifth District, I consistently hear about the variety of negative impacts that high fuel costs create. High gas prices hurt families trying to pay their bills, making it more expensive to fill their tanks and increasing the price of groceries and other goods. Rising fuel prices harm small businesses and farms that need reliable energy to operate their machinery, inhibiting their ability to succeed and grow. And energy costs impact schools, as filling up school buses takes more and more resources away from teachers and classrooms.
These examples and many others clearly demonstrate that our failure to adopt a strong national energy strategy is hindering our economic growth and burdening families at a time when we can least afford it. As the summer months with traditionally higher fuel costs approach, Washington needs to move forward with pro-growth energy policies that focus on the needs of families, small businesses, and farms.
One important step we could take right away is approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. It is a key piece of an all-of-the-above energy strategy aimed at reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy and giving Americans more affordable domestic energy choices. This project represents an opportunity to make our nation’s energy future more secure and will create an estimated 20,000 American jobs while investing billions into our struggling economy.
The application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline was submitted over five years ago, but the Obama administration has used a variety of tactics to delay and frustrate the project's progress. Numerous exhaustive reviews have been performed by the administration showing that the project will have limited environmental impacts and meets the requirements for approval. The House has voted to approve this project seven times with strong bipartisan support, but the president will not budge. Making matters worse, the administration recently announced that a decision on the pipeline will be postponed indefinitely. The overtly political nature of the delay likely postpones a decision until after this year’s midterm elections if not longer.
If the United States refuses to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, China will instead seize the opportunity to access Canada’s rich supply of oil and the economic growth associated with possessing greater energy resources. In this highly competitive global economy, we cannot pass up this dynamic opportunity to increase our economic output and instead allow a competitor to capture that growth.
It is time that the President and the Senate join the House in supporting the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline as the first step of an all-of-the-above energy approach that will lower gas prices, create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen our national security, and make life easier for our families, Main Street businesses, and small farms.