WAGUESPACK: A Wake-Up Call

We all need a wake-up call from time to time.

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we lose focus of what is important in life. Other times we develop tunnel vision on a certain issue and run down the wrong path without fully understanding the consequences. In many of these moments, family, friends, or some other trusted ally, will step in, and put us back on track. Sometimes that reality check comes in a calm, reassuring voice that lifts our spirits. Others times that voice hits you like a sledgehammer right between the eyes and gives you the wake-up call you desperately needed.

This week, Terry O’Sullivan, who runs the Laborers’ International Union of North America that represents a half-million construction workers, said this about the Obama administration’s statement to yet again delay the decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project: “This is once again politics at its worst. In another gutless move, the administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state-level challenge to their state process – and which has nothing to do with the national interest.”

O’Sullivan went on to say, “It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics. Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

Ouch. That is strong advice from a traditional union ally to President Obama and his administration, and it is sledgehammer-variety advice. It is meant to be a wake-up call for the President to make a decision that is right for the country, one that puts policy ahead of politics.

Keep in mind that earlier this year, the State Department released a study confirming the Keystone pipeline would not have a negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, the President’s former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said it would be a big win for our nation’s economy. In fact, the construction and development of the Keystone XL and Gulf Coast Pipeline Projects is expected to generate $20 billion in economic impact in the U.S. The pipeline will generate as estimated $5 billion in additional property taxes. Remember, it’s not just Republicans asking for this project, many Congress members of the President’s own political party, want the administration to green light this job-creating project as well. O’Sullivan is by no means the only labor official begging for this approval so people can get to work building and operating the pipeline.

In fact, our nation’s traditional allies have also publicly voiced their frustration and tried to be that sorely needed voice of reason. A spokesperson for the Canadian Prime Minister called the US decision a political one and said, “We are disappointed that politics continue to delay the decision on Keystone XL.”

The studies are complete and the facts are clear. The Keystone XL pipeline project is environmentally sound, the American people and a broad collection of stakeholders support it, and it comes at a time when the country is in desperate need to stimulate private investment and economic growth. This project would do just that and even the President’s traditional allies recognize it clearly.

Look, we all need a wake-up call from time to time. It is human nature and it happens to the best of us. This is clearly one of those moments for the President. He should know better, and make a decision based on what is right for the American worker.

The only question is can anyone snap him out of this fog and make him realize it before it is too late. Call it a wake-up call. Call it an intervention. Call it whatever you want. Just please, Mr. President, make the right call.

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