Ken Blackwell
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While refinery workers of the United Steelworkers held demonstrations in Washington Feb. 15 to protest the closure of two Philadelphia area refineries and the likely closure of a third in June, their leader continued his support of policies that might lead more refineries to cut back operations or shut down – costing even more of his own members their jobs.

The Keystone XL pipeline, the bane of radical environmentalists throughout the country, would bring oil from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast creating jobs and stimulating local economies and industries along the way. Unfortunately, President Obama figures he needs radical environmentalists more than instead of middle class workers for his re-election orts so he’s denying permits for the pipeline’s construction.

Astoundingly, Gerard applauded Obama’s decision instead of criticizing it. Gerard’s opposition to the pipeline makes no sense given how many USW members work in U.S. refineries that could manufacture gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, home heating oil, asphalt, and other essential products from the oil Keystone XL would transport.

An important way of strengthening America’s refining sector so it can preserve existing jobs and create new ones would be for President Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. However, instead of committing himself to a project that would create good-paying American jobs and enhance our economic security, President Obama instead ignored a project that would create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs almost immediately as well as nearly 120,000 indirect jobs in the next few years.

The Keystone XL pipeline, the bane of radical environmentalists throughout the country, would bring oil from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast creating jobs and stimulating local economies and industries along the way. Unfortunately, President Obama figures he needs radical environmentalists more than instead of middle class workers for his re-election orts so he’s denying permits for the pipeline’s construction.

Faced with stiff foreign competition and costly federal regulations in the U.S., the number of American refineries is shrinking – 66 closed in the past 20 years, leaving about 145 today. Three refineries in the Philadelphia area are in the process of closing, wiping out 2,000 jobs of refinery workers and about 20,000 indirect jobs. Even before these newest job losses, refinery closures and the recession resulted in the loss of 3,000 jobs in refineries just since 2008.

While Gerard issues press releases complaining about these refinery closures, his opposition to Keystone XL is politics at its worst.

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Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
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