Wikipedia describes the project as a "pipeline system to transport oil sands bitumen from Canada and the northern United States primarily to refineries in the Gulf Coast of Texas...Two phases of the project are in operation, a third, from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf coast, is under construction and the fourth is awaiting U.S. government approval as of mid-March 2013. Upon completion, the Keystone Pipeline System would consist of the completed 2,151-mile (3,462 km) Keystone Pipeline (Phases I and II) and the proposed 1,661-mile (2,673 km) Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project (Phases III and IV) . The controversial fourth phase, the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, would begin at the oil distribution hub in Hardisty, Alberta and extend 1,179 miles (1,897 km), to Steele City, Nebraska." (See HERE)
Regarding oil dependency, "The operational Keystone Pipeline system currently has the capacity to deliver up to 590,000 barrels per day (94,000 m3/d) of Canadian crude oil into the Mid-West refining markets." (ibid.) This amounts to more than 10 percent of Obama's pledge to "lowering imports by 5.5 million barrels per day and reducing our reliance on foreign oil to its lowest level in almost three decades." (See HERE)
As for job creation, "This pipeline would produce 20,000 construction jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, and it would provide a much-needed transportation line between oil refineries along our Gulf Coast and production facilities in Canada, not to mention the booming Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota. Our friends to the north have been reliable and steadfast trading partners, and the president should be making this pipeline decision on policy grounds instead of cheap political appeals to his liberal base." (See HERE)
Obama disputes these employment numbers, and has said, "Any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline -- which might take a year or two -- and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in a economy of 150 million working people." (See HERE)
However, this disagrees with Obama's own State Department conservative estimates: "Approximately 10,000 construction workers engaged for 4-to 8-month seasonal construction periods (approximately 5,000 to 6,000 per construction period) would be required to complete the proposed project. When expressed as average annual employment, this equates to approximately 3,900 jobs." (Reported HERE)
Taking the middle-ground in estimates, combined with the undisputed benefit of decreased dependency on Mid-East oil, the Keystone Pipeline looms very important--enough so that in March of 2012, President Obama promised, "Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done." (Reported HERE)
The Leftist LUNC, though, is that against his directive, Obama's administration has been repeatedly delaying the yes/no decision on the Keystone Pipeline, the latest delay coming in August, 2013. (See HERE and HERE)
This raises the question of: why? Since the pipeline will diminish oil dependency and decrease unemployment (things that most everyone seems to want), what is behind Obama's contradictory delays?
Evidently, the main impediment is Obama's "green" agenda. (See HERE and HERE) As indicated in Obama Energy - Intro, appeasing radical environmentalist is apparently more important to the President than improving national security by eliminating reliance on OPEC and/or boosting the economy by creating jobs and lowering energy cost.
Are there legitimate environmental concerns? Larry Bell, an energy expert and contributor to Forbes, says:
"The whole issue of the Keystone XL pipeline is stunning, because it shows how a few squeaky voices armed only with emotions and devoid of facts, can disrupt vast opportunities for new economic activity. The U.S. now has over 2,000,000 miles of energy pipelines, which are the safest, most efficient and most environmentally-sound way of moving energy from place to place. In fact, the State Department has already undertaken three studies, all of which found that the pipeline could be constructed safely. Still, the president and his State Department, now going into a fourth year since the original permit was applied for, continue to delay a decision regarding whether oil can be transported from Canada by the safest means possible.This uncertainty is a direct affront to our friend and ally Canada, and one that is beginning to cost them dearly. Their oil market prices have been dropping like a rock due to an inability to export product. It’s ironic that while Keystone XL opponents state that their chief concern revolves around carbon dioxide emissions from Canadian oil, current Obama administration indecision and stonewalling is likely to drive Canadians to sell that oil to China where their people and industries will burn all they can get. That certainly isn’t going to help reduce global carbon emissions, if that indeed truly matters." (See HERE)
For an explanation as to why these Leftist energy LUNCs occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, and Victimization