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Good Energy Policies Equal American Jobs

Posted Friday, December 9, 2011, at 7:55 AM

As our nation's economy struggles to rebound, one of the best ways to jumpstart job creation is through good energy policies. Unfortunately, President Obama has delayed one of the largest domestic shovel-ready projects until after his reelection bid in 2012 -- stalling the creation of thousands of potential private sector jobs and postponing a critical project that would help strengthen our energy independence.

The numbers on the Keystone XL Project speak for themselves: This pipeline will create 20,000 direct jobs during the construction phase of the pipeline. It would also generate $20.9 billion in new private sector spending in addition to $5 billion in new local, state, and federal revenue. Nationwide, this pipeline would benefit 1,400 American job creators.

The Keystone XL Project would also help reinforce our nation's energy security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil importers and strengthening our relationship with Canada -- one of our largest trading partners in the world. According to a recent congressional report, "For every American dollar spent on products from Canada, including oil, 91 cents is returned to the American economy. When the same metrics are applied to trading relationships with some other major sources of U.S. crude oil imports, returns are much lower: Saudi Arabia is 49 cents, and Venezuela is 33 cents."

Domestically, this project would help encourage more oil production in the Bakken formation in the Upper Great Plains, which National Geographic noted is one of the largest oil field projects in the U.S. since Prudhoe Bay in the 1960s. Regardless of the White House's decision to delay this project, the Canadian oil sands will be developed -- only to have that oil exported to other regions of the world if this project is further delayed.

Unfortunately, a number of outlets have noted that the timing of the Obama Administration's delay may have more to do with securing the President's own job than creating more American jobs. As Reuters reported, "Obama advisers fear that a decision in favor of the project could dampen enthusiasm among volunteers needed for door-to-door campaigning in battleground states that are critical to Obama's re-election." And National Journal noted that the president "decided to punt" on this project "in order to placate parts of the coalition that elected him in 2008."

This isn't the time for politics -- we need to jumpstart private sector job creation now more than ever. According to Gallup, the sharp decline in the workforce last month may be more of a reflection of the large number of Americans who have given up looking for work as a result of the length and depth of the economic downturn. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that November marked the lowest number of jobs at new businesses and the lowest number of employees per new business.

More than ever, we need to move forward and support policies and projects that will help put more Americans back to work. That's why I cosponsored the "North American Energy Security Act," which would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and help jumpstart the creation of 20,000 new jobs now.

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U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) serves as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations as well as the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
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