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Mr. President, I rise today to again express my great disappointment about a matter of importance to our nation – the Administration’s decision to once again put off a decision to start building the Keystone Pipeline so they can do a little more study and review – again!  It’s getting to be like watching a rerun of the same show – over and over and over again. 

How many times have we been through this?  I’ve lost count so I’ll leave it at “several.”  Time after time momentum seems to build to finally approve this project so we can reap the benefits and rewards that will come from the pipeline – namely – the jobs that will be available to people who really need them and the boost to our nation’s energy supplies that will help to bring some certainty to our energy policy.

Well, we can forget about those possibilities.  The Administration has once again spoken with certainty that they aren’t certain about what they want to do – they just know they don’t want to do it now.  If you’re supportive of the pipeline you can still hope it may happen someday.  If you’re opposed to it, you can be assured that “someday” won’t be happening anytime soon.

I risk shocking all those within the sound of my voice in saying I think there’s more of a political reason than a practical reason for this delay.  After all there have already been five years of studies that have reaffirmed the environmental benefits of building the pipeline now.

That isn’t all.  The State Department reviewed the proposal and found that it was the safest way to transport the oil.  Most pipelines require a Presidential Permit that isn’t issued until after an 18 to 24 month review process.  We did that.  In fact, the first leg of the Keystone XL pipeline took 21 months to obtain approval.  Most times that would be a cause for optimism.  Not this time, however.  We’re a total of five years down the road and we’re still awaiting the start of construction.

Instead of taking our time to discuss some misguided legislation that will actually discourage new hiring and harm the job prospects of long term unemployed individuals, we should be doing everything we possibly can to encourage the creation of new jobs and the growth of new business opportunities.  Again, according to the State Department, the Keystone XL has the potential to create 42,000 good jobs, with good wages that will help to get the economy going again, strengthen our energy supplies, and put those 42,000 individuals further along the road of living the American Dream and supporting their children and their families.  What’s not to like about that?  Plus, it will accomplish all that without raising taxes or increasing our crushing national debt.  In fact, once those jobs are created the 42,000 new workers will be paying taxes into the treasury and helping to pay down our debt with their revenue.

Getting this massive private sector job creator moving into high gear is simply a win/win for America and for all Americans.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet – and it won’t happen anytime soon because the White House has decided to step in and once again delay the project for political reasons. 

So instead of a job creator – the Administration is putting up a job barrier that will stop this source of new jobs for our economy.  We deserve better.  We deserve an Administration that is willing to work overtime to lead us out of this dismal time of long term unemployment – a slump that shows no signs of ending soon.  In and of itself the Keystone Pipeline may not end our unemployment crisis – but it will make a difference in a lot of lives – both today and for many tomorrows to come.

Simply put – it’s time for us all – House, Senate and the Administration – to serve the American people by discussing some real solutions to unemployment.  Slogans and one liners may carry a message to voters across the country – but a better message would be to actually roll up our sleeves and get to work so those 42,000 people can do the same.  Doesn’t it just make sense to do it that way?

That isn’t the only reason why we need to take action on this immediately.  Just take a look back on the past few years.  Haven’t we all spoken time and time again that we need to do something to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.  This pipeline will help us to do that. 

Oh – and let me mention before I forget that the Administration’s own Department of Energy stated in a memo in June 2011 that the Keystone XL would lower gas prices in all the markets here in the United States – from coast to coast.  Flipping the XL switch from “standby” to “on” should have been done years ago.  It’s a no brainer that calls for action – not more thought, reflection, meditation, consideration, review and planning – and who knows what else.

The record is clear.  We have been told time and time again that a decision on the pipeline was “in the pipeline” and would be coming our way shortly.  In March of last year the President told us that the final decision as to whether or not he would approve the pipeline would reach us by year’s end.

We never heard from him.

Before that, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a promise that we would have a decision on the status of the pipeline by the end of 2011.

We never heard from her either.

That is unacceptable for so many different reasons. 

We need the jobs.  We need the energy.  We need the certainty that comes from knowing whether this project will be completed or not.

Here’s the bottom line.  The resources that this pipeline is intended to carry will be developed whether the Administration approves it or not.  Doesn’t it just make sense that we would be better served by having the United States of America receive the benefit of all that energy – instead of our competitors? 

Am I missing something?  The Keystone Pipeline should be a slam dunk.  Putting off a decision for another day, another month, another year is not good for our country for all the reasons I have already noted.

We have an alternative before us.  Senator Hoeven’s updated bill would recognize the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and give our approval to the Keystone XL Pipeline.  It will put the Senate on record and recognize the need for the pipeline and all the benefits it will provide.  It has strong bipartisan support and should move forward with all deliberate speed.

There’s an old saying that reminds us that he who hesitates is lost.  Well, we’ve been hesitating for quite some time and we’ve got nothing to show for it but lost time.  Now we have a chance to change things and put ourselves on the right side of this equation.  It’s time to do it – now!  Let’s leave yesterday behind and move forward to tomorrow by taking action instead of putting it off again for another round of thoughtful gazing and reflection while our real problems grow more serious and our options start to diminish.

Thank you.