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Gazette Premium Content EDITORIAL: Latest delay in pipeline will harm middle-class Americans

The Gazette editorial Published: April 19, 2014

The Obama administration has done it again, creating another delay for the Keystone XL pipeline Friday. It's a move to appease radical environmentalists at a cost to working-class Americans who need shovel-ready jobs. It's an insult to our Canadian allies and a gift to hostile oil cartels that despise the United States.

The delay will postpone progress on the pipeline past the November elections, but it's a good bet this pipeline won't be able to proceed until sometime after President Barack Obama leaves office in 2017. This delay will just buy time until the next delay. That's how it has been for more than 2,000 days.

It's Obama who promised "shovel ready" jobs and later explained that his anticipated public works projects weren't all that shovel ready. That's because shovel-ready jobs don't just materialize out of thin air. We should never take them for granted.

Keystone is shovel ready. It would create thousands of jobs, quickly and at no significant cost to hard-working American taxpayers.

The official explanation for the new delay came from State Department officials who claim they need more time to review millions of public comments and to study a pending lawsuit in Nebraska that challenges the pipeline. USA Today reported that environmental activists are hailing the move as more hope the project will never move forward. Alas, they may be right.

"Every day without Keystone XL is a day that we keep high-carbon tar sands in the ground," said Rachel Wolf, spokesperson for the All Risk, No Reward Coalition.

Everyday without Keystone XL is another day environmental activism exacts a toll on working-class Americans who are looking for jobs and don't have time for anti-energy protest hobbies. Every day without the pipeline is another day we hold back the economy by artificially reducing the world's energy supply. Every day we hold back the pipeline we place political posturing ahead of sound energy and economic considerations.

Opposition to the delay isn't just a partisan matter. A few leading Democrats expressed outrage Friday, as they must face voters this fall who live and work in the real world.

"Today's decision by the administration amounts to nothing short of an indefinite delay of the Keystone Pipeline," lamented Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. "The decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable."

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp didn't mince words, either. The North Dakota Democrat knows how oil production has helped her state become an economic powerhouse. She'd like to see jobs created from north to south as the pipeline gets constructed and goes into full-time service.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that this well-over-five-year-long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time," Heitkamp said.

But none summarized the outrageous nature of this latest delay better than House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"This delay is shameful," Boehner said. "With our allies in Eastern Europe looking for energy leadership from America, it's clear there is little this administration isn't willing to sacrifice for politics.

"This job-creating project has cleared every environmental hurdle and overwhelmingly passed the test of public opinion, yet it's been blocked for more than 2,000 days. And if we've learned anything from the events in Ukraine, it's that energy security sends signals across borders, and nations in the region hoping for greater American energy exports will no doubt take notice of this egregious decision."

Mr. President, let this pipeline proceed. Given the fact nearly all humans still depend on oil, it's good for Americans and it's good for the world.

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