House Republicans Follow Senate’s Direction on Keystone XL Pipeline

On December 2, 2011, two days after the introduction of a Senate bill to fast-track decision-making on the Keystone XL pipeline, House Republicans released their plans to expedite the pipeline permitting process — and also to take the decision away from the State Department and to grant it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Terry Lee (R-NE).

Pressure from Big Oil and the Chamber of Commerce should not be allowed to override thorough consideration of the dangerous consequences of the KXL pipeline. Green America opposes construction of the pipeline due to the perils it presents for human health, the environment and climate change, as well as the tremendous setback the pipeline would mean for development of our domestic, renewable energy sector.

Rep. Lee has stated that Republicans aim to attach the bill to legislation that Democrats seek on extending unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts.

Some in Congress are trying to use our country’s dire need for job creation as an excuse to build this pipeline. Data on job creation commissioned by the oil industry, while still in circulation, has been grossly inflated. We will generate more good quality, lasting jobs through investment in clean energy. A report from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) finds that clean energy jobs will provide more career opportunities than the fossil fuel sector does “across all levels of skill and education” and “a high proportion of the jobs generated by clean-energy investments should offer good opportunities for advancement through training programs.” While estimates vary, PERI finds that investment in clean energy generates approximately 3-4 times as many jobs as investments in fossil fuel industries.

So what are we waiting for? We are dangerously late in shifting to clean energy options and haven’t a moment to spare in making renewable energy our primary source of power.

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