July 30 — For a President that has so frequently invoked the need to invest in American infrastructure, his recent comments dismissing the economic impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline seemed out of touch.
In the almost five years that the Keystone XL pipeline has been under review by the State Department, President Obama has consistently touted the importance of investing in infrastructure for future economic growth. It was a hallmark of his stimulus package, and has been invoked in speeches throughout the country. Just recently he began a speech tour focused on the economy, with infrastructure a major focus.
It’s puzzling, then, for the President to so casually dismiss the importance of the Keystone XL Pipeline as an infrastructure investment. The President commented last week that the Keystone XL Pipeline would, “might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two” in “a economy of 150 million working people” – comments suggesting the impact would be so minimal as to be not worth the investment.
By the administration’s own estimates, the Keystone XL Pipeline would create or support over 42,000 jobs. The State Department also estimated that Keystone would create $2 billion in worker payments, an additional $3.3 billion in construction and material spending, and $67 million in local and state tax revenue.
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and PolitiFact – among many others – poured cold water on the President’s claims. And for good reason. The White House has run out of reasons to delay approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and now it appears they’re ignoring their own numbers. It’s time to end the smoke and mirrors.