By John Seewer
SWANTON, Ohio — Mitt Romney’s administration immediately would approve a pipeline that would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in Texas, creating thousands of jobs and pushing America on its way to energy independence, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Monday.
Ryan told supporters during his third trip to swing state Ohio in the past two weeks that North America has enough energy resources to become energy independent within eight years.
“We need to unlock the energy we have in this country to create jobs,” he said.
Ryan criticized President Barack Obama for standing in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline and said the Democrat pushed too many environmental regulations that have cost jobs in the coal industry, a thorny issue for the president in southeast Ohio where coal has a large footprint.
“All that does it take away our home pay and send jobs overseas,” Ryan said.
Obama this year objected to the Keystone pipeline’s proposed 1,179-mile route over environmental concerns, suggesting that the pipeline should go around a sensitive aquifer in Nebraska. But Obama encouraged the company to pursue a shorter project from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.
Approving the entire pipeline would get people back to work in construction and factories, Ryan said.
“Think of the jobs right there,” he said.
The Wisconsin congressman said Ohio and other industrial states have lost jobs because of Obama’s policies. He said the Toledo area is a lot like his hometown of Janesville, Wis.
“We’re factory towns. We’ve lost factories,” he said. “We need them back.”
In a statement attributed to Mike Gillis, the Ohio AFL-CIO spokesman defended the president’s economic record in the state, where the unemployment rate has dropped more than 3 points since its peak during the recession.
“The rescue of the auto industry was a big part of that,” Gillis’ statement said. “Unpopular at the time, President Obama showed the very leadership that was needed to save this important sector of the Ohio economy.”