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Expected Veto of Legislation Approving Keystone XL Pipeline

Statement of Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA 

Washington, D.C. (February 11, 2015) – It appears clear that President Obama will set up yet another roadblock to the Keystone XL Pipeline with a veto. Even if Congress had the votes to over-ride a veto, we suspect the President would discover some other excuse to put politics first and keep the pipeline’s construction careers and energy locked out of reach.

To back up his expected veto, the President has correctly stated that there is “a well-established process in place” to consider approval of major infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline. What he didn’t say is that he and too many job-killing Democrats have perverted that process.

Each year, hundreds of energy infrastructure projects are efficiently approved after passing strict regulatory hurdles and reviews. Had Keystone been subject to the same standards, it would have already been built.

The White House needs to have the courage to own its de facto decision to block Keystone. As with too many other issues, the Administration is more concerned about the politics than the facts. If it were to approve the project based on facts, the President would have to muster the courage to stand up to billionaire contributors who undervalue careers based on working with ones’ hands and over-fantasize the current capacity of other forms of energy.

Instead a crucial piece of energy infrastructure remains in an absurd limbo. It is this kind of repulsive political positioning that led voters to tell many Democrats and the Administration to go one level lower than the pipeline’s current place in purgatory.

We remain hopeful that this lifeline to good careers and energy independence will be built. If it is, it won’t be due to a legitimate review process for pipelines – it will be because it managed to survive a destructive distortion of the approval process and cowardly politicking.