Christie Vilsack is running for Congress in Iowa and favors the proposed pipeline, which would run from Canada through Nebraska to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Vilsack, a Democrat, says she understands the environmental concerns, but says the potential jobs trump those worries. The original route would have run through Nebraska’s environmentally-fragile Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer.
“There are times in history when jobs are so important that we need to make sure we focus on jobs. I think we have the capability of figuring out the technology that will helps us move that piece of the pipeline through Nebraska in a safe way,” Vilsack says. “We can find that, we can find the technology, we can find the way to move it.”
President Obama put the pipeline on hold, saying more time is needed to study safety issues.
Vilsack’s opponent, Republican Congressman Steve King, was highly critical of Obama’s move on the pipeline, saying it was a political decision bowing to environmental extremism.
Vilsack is pushing what she says is a new energy policy for the country. Her plan includes developing new biofuels and renewing the one-dollar-a-gallon tax credit for biofuel production.
Her energy policy also calls for creating an energy council which she says would set policy for the next 50 years.
“These would not be political appointments, they would be using the people who know the most about energy policy in this country and challenging them to come up with a 50-year plan,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack is the wife of former Iowa governor and current U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. She made her comments during a stop in Sioux City.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City