Weekly Columns

Creating Energy Jobs in America

f t # e
Washington, January 11, 2012 | comments

My number one focus for the New Year remains on job creation.  At the end of last year, I was pleased the Senate finally agreed to accept a House Republican proposal to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline.  The pipeline is an instant job generator and will create energy security in America.

The pipeline, supported by both employers and unions, will create manufacturing and construction jobs, while increasing energy security across the country. TransCanada estimates that 20,000 well-paying jobs will be created in 2012 should this project move forward. In addition, the project will provide an estimated $5.2 billion in tax revenue to the Keystone XL corridor states. Construction of the pipeline will also act as an economic engine in the private sector by generating additional private sector investment in food, lodging, fuel, vehicles, equipment, construction and services.

Unfortunately, the president has been blocking the pipeline project because of some objections from environmentalists. In doing this, the president is blocking the creation of thousands of jobs in this country.  I believe it is important to find common ground because passing this provision is too important to ignore. After waiting more than three years for this pipeline while the country faces prolonged unemployment, the president’s inaction on a project that can quickly create jobs is nonsensical. With the recently-enacted legislation, the president must now approve the project unless he believes it is not in our national interest – and why wouldn’t it be in our national interest to add thousands of jobs and increase our energy security?

Furthermore, if we want to keep jobs here in America and prevent them from moving overseas, we need to rein in a number of regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to implement, including its Boiler MACT regulations.  The Boiler MACT regulations could cost the manufacturing sector over $14 billion in capital, plus billions more in annual operating costs. Most importantly, it could cost 267,000 jobs across America, over 8,400 of which are in Tennessee. 

By moving forward on bipartisan energy proposals that approve the Keystone pipeline project and repeal the harmful Boiler MACT regulation, we can create thousands of new jobs, prevent the elimination of thousands more and remove burdens hindering growth. It is my hope that when Congress comes back into session that the Senate passes the House-approved legislation that puts America on the path to energy independence and security.

f t # e