WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- President Obama is off the mark in dismissing the potential economic gains from the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline, a Republican leader said.
Obama said in a weekend interview with The New York Times he was wary of the long-term employment prospects from the Keystone XL oil pipeline. He said the jobs gained from the pipeline would be a "blip" compared to the sustained needs of the U.S. economy.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Obama was standing in the way of the pipeline despite seven bills passed in support of the project. Upton said Keystone could put Americans back to work.
"Mr. President, Keystone's jobs are no laughing matter," he said in a statement Monday.
TransCanada, the project's planner, issued a separate statement in defense of the project. It said the pipeline would provide approximately 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs.
The U.S. Department of Labor in its July report said 28 states reported increases in unemployment, 11 reported decreases and 11 states and the District of Columbia reported no change. The national jobless rate of 7.6 percent is 0.6 percentage point lower than in June 2012.
A presidential permit is needed to build the cross-border section of the pipeline planned from Canada.