Yesterday Senator Lugar (R-IN) introduced S. 1932, North American Energy Security Act, which would require the President to issue a permit for the Keystone XL project within 60 days and at the same time give the State of Nebraska the ability to move the route of the pipeline without delaying other parts of the project. Finally, the bill would deem the current environmental impact statement as having met all the requirements under federal law.
The Lugar bill is a valiant effort to get the Keystone XL project back on track. While the State of Nebraska’s has every right to rethink and review the route the pipeline will take through their state, it makes little sense that Nebraska’s review should derail the entire project. It seems clear that before the State of Nebraska decided to rethink the route of the pipeline that the Obama Administration was headed down the road of approving the pipeline because it was in the national interest.
However, as the Administration felt pressure from environmental groups they found Nebraska’s concerns to be a convenient excuse to pull the plug on the permit and make sure that the environmental review would not be completed until 2013. This administration did what it does best, it creates uncertainty. They have failed to understand a fundamental principle in job creation – uncertainty is lethal to job creation. The more uncertainty there is in the market place the less likely jobs will be created.
The Keystone XL project is symbolic of where we are as a country. Rather than finding solutions to our energy challenges we are looking for ways to procrastinate our decisions. We need our leaders to lead and we need to have a government that can balance the need to be environmentally smart and business savvy. We can continue to operate the way we have for the last decade. We are moving at the speed of yesterday while the world around us is moving at the speed of tomorrow.
Chip Yost is vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
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