To the Editor:
During the past year, I have had the privilege of serving on the Council of State Government’s Midwest-Canada Relations Committee in my capacity as state representative.
My focus has been on ensuring our relationship with Canada increases economic prosperity in our state. Although it does not receive much publicity, our economic ties to Canada account for over 301,000 jobs across Ohio and more than $10.3 billion in exports from northeast Ohio businesses alone.
Yet jobs are not the only benefit we receive. Canada provides Ohio’s refineries with over $4.6 billion of crude oil – energy resources refined in Ohio and used to power our economy. But this important relationship with our northern neighbor and the economic benefits we receive – from job creation to lower gas prices – have been obstructed by continued inaction in Washington.
Earlier this year, for purely political reasons, President Obama denied the permit to build Keystone XL, a pipeline connecting Canadian oil fields to U.S. refiners. We were denied the ability to have energy security from our northern ally and instead must continue to be held hostage to Middle East and South American dictators for our energy resources. We were denied the ability to create over 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs from building this pipeline. And we were denied the ability immediately to reduce prices at the pump. Gasoline and diesel prices set an all-time record average high in 2011 in Ohio, and are moving even higher in 2012, with the average family paying over $4,100 a year to fuel their vehicles.
While Washington waits, Ohioans are forced to watch Canadian oil shipped overseas to China as we pay ever increasing prices to fill up our cars just to go to work and take our children to school. Moreover, high diesel prices increase the cost of shipping, which in turn drives up the cost of groceries and a variety of other goods we purchase on a day-to-day basis.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been under thorough review for more than three years by the Department of State, during which time the Department performed three environmental impact studies. All of the studies have found Keystone XL would have, “limited adverse environmental impacts,” during construction and operation and, “would have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations.” So why does Washington insist on hindering our economic recovery by encouraging higher gas prices and reducing the opportunity to create jobs?
It is time to take a stand against Washington’s obstruction of job creation and lower gas prices for Ohioans. That is why I am introducing a house resolution, calling on the president and Congress to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will secure our energy future, provide thousands of jobs, and ensure we can afford our next fill-up. I encourage my constituents to join with me in contacting their representatives in Congress and the White House to demand action today on this important public policy matter.
State Rep. Mike Dovilla
77 S. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215