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Keystone XL Pipeline Delay a Political Move That Hurts Jobs, Economy, Energy Supply

May 6, 2014 - 6:00pm

While most out-of-work people simply want the opportunity for a job, Washington seems to have turned a deaf ear to those pleas.

The Obama administrations recent decision to indefinitely delay approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline reeks of politics, a lack of common sense, and misses a tremendous opportunity to provide thousands of jobs and help boost a sagging economy.

I was encouraged by the Florida Legislatures resolution that encourages those in power in Washington to approve construction of the pipeline. Also encouraging is the bipartisan support this project seems to have, despite the presidents political games that delay a sorely needed project. At least some in Florida recognize that a more stable energy supply not only boosts the nations economy, but provides national security benefits.

As we have seen time and again, instability in other countries around the world most recently between Russia and Ukraine causes instability at home regarding energy supply and cost.

Russias willingness to use its supply of gas and oil to Ukraine and Western Europe as a political weapon, along with recent increasing tensions, have had the predictable effect of negatively impacting the global energy market and contributing to a growing hit on Americans wallets and pocketbooks at the pump.

The Keystone XL Pipeline, however, would be a major boost to the United States economy, not only from the estimated 1 million barrels of oil delivered daily from Canada to the United States, but also because of the tens of thousands of new jobs it would create.

With Floridas hurricane season quickly approaching, the threat of gasoline shortages due to the interruption of imported oil supply lines remains a very real possibility, as history has taught us. Whether it is from bad weather or the instability of many oil exporting nations, interruption of our oil and gas supply is just bad business.

The KXL Pipeline requires a recommendation of approval by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to President Obama, who has conveniently delayed a decision on the pipeline indefinitely or at least until midterm elections are over in November.

After five positive environmental impact reports from the U.S. State Department and years of studying the issue, a majority of Americans are eager to see White House approval and a start to construction of the pipeline.

There is a clear connection between energy security, energy independence and our national security. We all have seen the instability and violence in other countries throughout the world, and some of those countries are major suppliers of oil to the United States.

In contrast, Canada is a trusted ally, is close to home, and is a reliable trading partner. Canada will find a buyer for its oil. It makes sense that the United States should be that buyer.

Numerous new polls suggest that a majority of American voters of all political affiliations overwhelmingly support building the KXL, so there is no reason to delay this project.

We need to remind our elected representatives to Congress that this political gamesmanship by the Obama administration needs to end. It's past time for Secretary Kerry to recommend approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and for President Obama to give the go-ahead for construction.

Maj. Gen. Bill Hodgkins retired from the USAF in 2006 after 33 years of service. He was a former F-15 wing commander at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City and currently resides in Tallahassee.

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