“Anthony Swift, in a NRDC Switchboard repost
The Speaker of the House John Boehner has just announced that he plans to hold payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits hostage to a bill that would rubber stamp approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This legislation, proposed by Rep. Lee Terry (Neb.), is nothing like the bill the House voted on in the summer.
Rather than requiring an expedited decision by the Administration, Terry’s new bill would require automatic approval of Keystone XL in thirty days, giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority to permit (but not decline) a Presidential permit. In the process, it also exempts TransCanada from having to abide by the same laws that domestic pipelines do – laws intended to protect the nation’s land and water.
Speaker Boehner’s reason for pushing such a bad bill is his belief that the American people will mistake Keystone XL for a national jobs package. It isn’t. The House leadership is echoing discredited and widely exaggerated job numbers for the project. The State Department found that the pipeline would only create between 5,000 to 6,000 temporary construction jobs and only 20 permanent jobs (pg. 3.10-79, 80). Even the pipeline’s sponsor TransCanada has admitted that the pipeline would create no more than a few hundred permanent jobs. The 13.3 million Americans who are out of work will not thank Speaker Boehner when they realize that rather than seriously working on their behalf to advance national job creation, he used their distress to try to get a pipeline that is for the benefit of Big Oil.”
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