Enough dawdling. Obama should approve the Keystone pipeline.
The president should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link the rich oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta to U.S. refineries and ports in the Gulf of Mexico. Last Friday evening, 17 Democrats joined all of the U.S. Senate's Republicans in urging Obama to do just that. The 62-37 vote was nonbinding but signaled bipartisan frustration with the administration's reluctance to approve the project.
The president is expected to make a decision by this summer. He rejected a Keystone plan a year ago, in the midst of his re-election campaign. That was applauded by some environmental groups and angered the Canadian government. But the most significant impact was this: It kept Americans from getting good-paying jobs.
The U.S. has made great strides toward energy independence, thanks to conservation efforts and an incredible boom in exploration for domestic oil and natural gas. A recent report from Citigroup projected the U.S. could become North American energy independent by 2020. That is, this nation could get all of its energy from the U.S. and Canada.
The U.S. would no longer be reliant on supplies from the volatile Middle East. This country would become a net exporter of oil, and lower energy costs would help to fuel broad economic growth.
But those projections depend on the U.S. making the right decisions about supply and consumption.
One of those decisions is approval of the Keystone pipeline.