Obama Mulls Doing the Right Thing, Again; the Keystone Pipeline Is the Key to Energy Independence

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Byline: Tom Pyle, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It sure didn't take long. Just barely into his second term, President Obama is faced yet again with a crucial decision about our nation's energy future: Will he prioritize American jobs and energy security, or will he appease environmental extremists by once again rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline?

A year ago, the president rejected Keystone ostensibly because of its route through Nebraska. Mr. Obama's largely symbolic decision didn't do much to placate the pipeline's opponents, but it did serve to disappoint the thousands of Americans the project promised to employ. Indeed, preventing the construction of the pipeline in the United States won't stop the Canadian oil from going to other parts of the world. Rejecting the pipeline and allowing Canada to send its oil via pipeline, train and tanker to Asia actually would generate more carbon-dioxide emissions than its proposed route through the United States.

Even though the State Department has concluded that the environmental risks of the pipeline are minimal, environmental activists continue to whine about its construction.

Meanwhile, thousands of prospective high-paying jobs from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the Midwest's Canadian border have been put on hold. Wages for refinery workers, for example, are 50 percent higher than the national average. Unfortunately, many Americans aren't yet being given the chance to earn those wages.

Despite protests from environmental activists, the American people overwhelmingly support building the pipeline. According to a survey by the American Energy Alliance, 79 percent of Americans support the project.

A Fox News survey released last year showed that 67 percent of Americans say it should be built. Another poll released by United Technologies and National Journal showed 64 percent of Americans believed the Keystone XL pipeline would create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. …