The recent announcement of layoffs by Welspun here in Arkansas due to the delay of the Keystone Pipeline along with the passage of a bill supporting moving forward with the project by the U.S. House of Representatives has pushed the issue to the forefront of Arkansas politics this week.
With this background, the Republican Party of Arkansas sent out a press release calling on Democrats in Arkansas, including Gov. Mike Beebe, to publicly support the House bill which was passed last night with all four Arkansas Congressmen including Democrat Mike Ross voting in favor of it.
“President Obama’s veto threat puts the jobs of 600 Arkansans at risk – 60 of which have already been notified they are losing their jobs,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “It’s clear the President would rather please his liberal allies than extend tax relief for middle class families and protect hundreds of Arkansas jobs with the Keystone pipeline. Will state Democrats stand with Arkansas workers, or will they continue to dutifully support the leader of their party?”
I asked the governor’s office for a response today and they pointed me to a letter Beebe wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in September.
“As Governor of Arkansas, I believe that approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is in the best interests of the United States, and I ask that you permit this project to move forward. I feel strongly that Keystone XL (KXL) will deliver significant long-term benefits to our citizens, serving the national interest through capital investment, job creation, and the enhancement of our energy security” wrote Beebe.
But governor’s spokesman Matt DeCample said while their office is obviously disappointed in the delay, they are not ready to jump into the partisan issue that they feel this has become.
“While we hoped for something quicker, the decision was ultimately a federal decision,” said DeCample. “We obviously regret the loss of jobs at Welspun as we do with any Arkansans that are out of work.”
The bill passed by the House now heads to the Senate where it is likely to be blocked by the Democratic-controlled chamber.