Senate Misses Opportunity to Lower Energy Prices and Create Jobs

By March 8, 2012Energy

It’s extremely disappointing the Senate failed today to take a stand for jobs and manufacturers by voting down important amendments to the transportation bill that would delay the harmful Boiler MACT regulations, expand exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf and approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. Senators failed to pass these amendments which would have saved jobs, created jobs and injected the economy with new life. 

There were 52 votes in support of the Collins amendment. Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has spent much of the past eight days up in the Senate meeting with Democratic Senators trying to convince them that there was really no need for the Senate to pass legislation. The standards the EPA has put forward are not achievable with our current technology, and the EPA knows this.

Manufacturers want reasonable and achievable regulations. They want some degree of certainty. They want government to quit trying to pick winners or favorites.

The Vitter amendment to expand drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) was rejected on a 46-52 vote. Senators need to realize that every barrel of oil produced in North America is another barrel that we don’t have to pull from somewhere else in the world. The more sources of oil and the more supply of oil means energy will be more affordable for manufacturers and that means more jobs. The Vitter amendment would open up vast tracks of the OCS to oil exploration and make the country more self-reliant. 

The Hoven amendment to approve the permit that would allow construction of the Keystone XL over the Canadian/U.S. boarder lost on a 56-42 vote. What is so frustrating about this vote is that the President told us in the summer he supported the pipeline. He vetoed the pipeline in November and then again the February. Once TransCanada announced they would start the pipeline in Oklahoma he applauded their resolve to move forward. However, the President spent the last four days making phone calls to Democratic Senators asking them to vote against the pipeline. My mother use to tell me, “Your actions are so loud I can’t hear what you are saying.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would provide the economy with almost an instant shot of energy to our economy. It would create 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs just during its construction. It would have a ripple effect of at least another 118,000 jobs. It would move more oil to refineries that need the oil and it would create opportunities up and down the 1,700 mile pipeline. Keystone is a smart play and gives us a source of safe and reliable oil that is coming from our backyard and not half way around the world!

It was a disappointing day in the Senate that will have a definite impact on manufacturers and our economy. Today the Senate had a chance, and they dropped the ball on energy security and affordability.  

Chip Yost is vice president for energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • kafantaris says:

    The Wyden Amendment makes sense. If we would be taking the risk of an oil spill on our homeland from the Keystone XL Pipeline, then all the oil it transports should stay here. And the pipeline should be built and be maintained by American workers — with American made materials.
    Otherwise, we would be relegating our land to be a 30 year stepping stone for Canada to transport its dirty oil to foreign markets.
    Moreover, the Wyden Amendment should be used as a model for all offshore and public land drilling. If our country incurs the long term risk of a spill, then it should also get the maximum benefit.
    The “free market” will have to take a back seat on this one.
    Our environment ain’t free — even to the free market.

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