It's over. The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline came crashing down on Nov. 6 when President Obama ended a seven-year political battle by rejecting the construction of the crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The president said Secretary of State John Kerry advised him against approving the construction of the pipeline. Obama said the pipeline would not make a "meaningful" contribution to the creation of jobs and the economy.

However, the head of a labor union that probably would have benefited from those jobs vehemently disagreed. He said Obama's decision "is just one more indication of an utter disdain and disregard for salt-of-the-earth, middle-class working Americans."

Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), said this is not the first time Obama has turned his back on blue collar workers.

"From this decision on the Keystone XL, to the attack on quality health care through the so-called ‘Cadillac Tax,' to his efforts to ship good jobs overseas through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Obama's disdain for working people is evident. The president may be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer," O'Sullivan said.

"President Obama has demonstrated that he cares more about kowtowing to green-collar elitists than he does about creating desperately needed, family supporting, blue-collar jobs," O'Sullivan said.

"The politics he has played with their lives and livelihoods is far dirtier than oil carried by any pipeline in the world, and the cynical manipulation of the approval process has made a mockery of regulatory institutions and government itself."

Seven years ago, crude oil production in the U.S. had fallen from a peak of 3.5 billion barrels in 1970 to a low of 1.8 billion barrels in 2008. Since then, U.S. crude oil production has increased to 3.2 billion barrels in 2014, which is a 78 percent increase over 2008.

There is an oversupply of crude oil along the Gulf Coast and throughout the U.S. The oversupply has pushed crude oil prices down from $100 per barrel to $45. Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would have put even more downward pressure on oil and gasoline prices.

While many oil industry officials originally supported the construction of the pipeline, they recognize that if finished it would have brought even more crude oil into a market that already has an excess of supply.

The job and national security issues remain important considerations.

However, as O'Sullivan said, Obama decided to take the political road and "kowtow to green-collar elitists."


Alex Mills is president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The opinions expressed are solely of the author.

Recommended for you

Load comments