An Opportunity to Create Jobs: Will the President Act?

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At a time when more than 13 million Americans are unemployed, we should be doing everything it can to create a stable atmosphere for our economy and encourage job creation. 

Too often, the message from Washington speaks of job creation, but the actions do not match the words.
One action that could be taken to immediately open the door to 20,000 jobs is approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  The proposed pipeline would transport 500,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada to oil refineries in the U.S.  A group of House Democrats even wrote to President Obama in support of the pipeline noting the 20,000 direct jobs and that the project would “spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs.”  Recognizing the positive economic impact of the project, it has won broad support from business groups to labor unions.  Read more about the project including the letters of support at http://transcanada.com/keystone.html.

The Keystone XL Pipeline represents one of the most straightforward and simple opportunities to create American jobs.  This shovel-ready project not only creates jobs, but decreases U.S. dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil. 

So what is holding up the creation of these jobs?  The president has refused to approve the project.  In November, he gave in to pressure from the environmental lobby and delayed the decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election.

The president has often said that we cannot wait to act on jobs for America, but that is exactly what he has done with his pipeline punt when time is of the essence.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the president that if the U.S. delays its decision, Canada will start shipping its oil to Asian markets. 

Understanding the importance of these jobs and that a decision on the pipeline simply cannot wait, Congress passed legislation compelling the president to make a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21, 2012.  If the House of Representatives did not push for this provision in the end of the year agreement, the pipeline jobs might not have been just delayed, but lost forever. 

The president’s rhetoric on jobs sounds hollow not only for his actions on the Keystone pipeline, but for his own Environmental Protection Agency’s record.  We have seen several examples of this administration’s EPA proposing massive, job-destroying regulations. For example, consider the EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards for boilers, otherwise known as the “Boiler MACT” regulation.   Boilers burn fuels to produce steam that is then used to produce electricity or heat.  In 2011, the EPA proposed technologically unworkable emission limits for boilers used in manufacturing, commercial, and residential settings.  The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners said the regulation, as originally proposed, would cost $14 billion to implement and place more than 200,000 jobs at risk.
The next time the president argues we cannot wait to act on jobs for America, consider his record on the Keystone XL pipeline and the Boiler MACT regulations.  The president’s actions speak louder than his words.  In the next few weeks, we will have an even better picture of where the president stands when he makes the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.  I hope he does the right thing for job creation and approves the pipeline.

Washington has a choice to make: does it want to continue imposing job-destroying regulations, or does it want to create jobs?   One of the best ways to jumpstart our lagging economy is to provide regulatory certainty for job creators and lower energy prices for struggling families and small businesses.  The House of Representatives has taken this approach, passing over thirty job creation bills that reign in out of control regulations from the EPA, create regulatory certainty, fix the tax code, and maximize domestic energy production.

U.S. Representative
Geoff Davis