A Congressman pushing for approval of Keystone XL says recent statements by the president lead him to believe he will reject the oil pipeline.
Congressman Lee Terry, a Republican from Omaha, questions the motivation behind President Barack Obama’s move to downplay the jobs the Keystone XL oil pipeline would create.
TransCanada projects it will generate 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs. The total project is projected to cost $7 billion and stretch 1,700 from western Canada to the Gulf Coast in Texas, taking crude oil processed from tar sands to oil refineries. TransCanada must receive a presidential permit to cross the border.
The company has split the project; already in the final stages of building the Gulf Coast Pipeline. TransCanada says it has employed 4,000 workers to build the Gulf Coast portion of the pipeline and will need 9,000 more to build from western Canada to Cushing, Oklahoma. It estimates the pipeline will support 7,000 manufacturing jobs.
The State Department has projected the pipeline will support 42,000 direct and indirect jobs.
In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama claimed the pipeline would support only 2,000 construction jobs and only 50 to 100 permanent jobs. He again downplayed the job projections for Keystone XL during a stop in Tennessee.
Terry points out the Treasury Secretary also downplayed the jobs projection during a Sunday morning talk show visit. He says the administration is setting a negative tone about Keystone.
“So, it wasn’t just him off the cuff. This was coordinated,” Terry tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “And, so I think he’s setting it up to actually deny (the permit).”
Terry says Obama seems to be changing his administration’s energy policy.
“It is evolving and it’s confusing, because it seems that the energy policy is actually removing energy from our portfolio,” Terry says.
Recent comments by the president have criticized coal and questioned the potential oil production from tar sands and other non-traditional sources. Terry says it appears the president, a Democrat, doesn’t want to alienate environmental voters prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.
“They threatened en bloc to make sure that they will not vote for any Democrat if Keystone is approved by this president.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: Congressman Lee Terry on Jack and Dave in the Morning, KLIN. [15 min.]