OPINION

Miller: Keystone approval is a no-brainer

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved — for the 10th time in the last six years — legislation authorizing construction of a transnational pipeline linking Canada’s western oil fields with U.S. refineries.

The U.S. Senate, no longer controlled by environmental extremists, is expected to follow suit in short order.

That leaves President Barack Obama as the lone obstacle to development of the most advanced pipeline on the planet, the tens of thousands of jobs its construction would create and, at long last, American independence from Middle Eastern oil.

Sadly, earlier last week, a spokesman for the president signaled his intent to veto this legislation — supported by bi-partisan majorities in Congress and, more importantly, a majority of our fellow citizens — claiming there was “uncertainty due to ongoing litigation in Nebraska.”

Last week, the Nebraska Supreme Court eliminated that uncertainty when it ruled that Nebraska’s governor has the authority to approve the pipeline in his state.

Obama has run out of excuses.

The administration’s own State Department has conducted no fewer than five comprehensive reviews of Keystone, totaling over 22,000, pages which found the pipeline would be a boon to the American economy, improve the safety of oil transport and result in lower carbon emissions than any feasible alternative.

The latest of those reviews, released nearly a year ago, confirmed that construction of the pipeline would support approximately 42,100 jobs.

Labor union officials have called the project a “lifeline” for American workers still struggling to find employment six years into our so-called economic recovery.

Objections to Keystone have come from the far-left flank of the president’s party, those who believe we should sever our reliance on fossil fuels.

Their intentions may be laudable. The notion that we should base federal energy policy on them is dangerously naive.

Abundant, affordable energy drives our economy. Michigan’s revitalized auto industry and those who rely on it for good jobs understand that. Michigan motorists, feeling the wealth effect of plunging gasoline prices for the first time in a decade, understand that.

Those benefits are directly related to the boon in oil and gas production made possible by mostly American advances in extraction technology. And they will be sustained for the foreseeable future by more of the same.

If the Keystone Pipeline is not constructed, Canadian oil will still be extracted and the oil will still be transported, often by riskier rail and road freight carriers. It will be refined and used, most likely by the Chinese. The primary effect of our failure to move forward will be damage to our own national interest.

As I said 18 months ago when the House adopted an earlier version of the pipeline’s authorization, this is not a close call.

It’s time to build the Keystone Pipeline. Now.

Congresswoman Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., represents Michigan’s 10th District.