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GOP to Keystone XL: Be My Valentine

J. Mijin Cha

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the House and Senate GOP plan to attach an amendment forcing the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a completely unrelated piece of legislation. This time around, it’s the transportation bill that is getting the Keystone amendment. While killing the worst transportation bill ever offered wouldn't be a total tragedy, the GOP’s continued attempts to force through the pipeline at any cost is starting to get old.

We’ve discussed all the reasons the Keystone XL pipeline should be rejected. Among the many: the pipeline is not a job creator, the environmental consequences of the pipeline will be disastrous, and it will do little to bring us closer to energy independence.  Adding to this list, the claims of reinvigorating the steel industry seem to be false. Just last week, Representative Mike Doyle challenged TransCanada to certify its claim that 75 percent of the steel would come from North America because he had discovered that 148 miles of the pipeline had already been constructed in India.

Meanwhile, the real job creator is continually ignored. A new report details how investments in clean energy and environmental sustainability resulted in one of the few sectors to report job growth during a time of overall job loss. While the total number of jobs created dropped by one percent in 2007-2008, green jobs grew during that same time period by five percent. Overall, in between 1995-2008, green businesses increased by 45 percent and green jobs grew by 36 percent, while the total jobs in the state grew only 13 percent. During this time, clean energy generation jobs grew 61 percent and energy efficiency jobs grew by 63 percent. These numbers show actual job creation, as opposed to the hyper-inflated numbers that are being falsely promoted by Keystone XL advocates.

The GOP’s actions do have a positive side. They are an excellent organizing tool and in less than 7 hours, more than 500,000 people signed a petition to stop the GOP amendment. Opposition to the pipeline is growing and recent polling shows that when people are informed of the dangers of the pipeline, support for building it plummets.

Keystone is the pipeline that just won’t die, thanks to the GOP’s never-ending devotion. You can even send a GOP Valentine’s Day card detailing your devotion to the pipeline.  Now, if only we could get them to focus that kind of love and devotion to creating jobs and rebuilding our middle class…