Christie Praises Keystone Pipeline During Visit to Canada
Burnishing his conservative credentials in advance of a possible 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used a portion of his keynote address at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce's Energy Sector Luncheon Thursday to extol the virtues of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.
Christie did not mention President Barack Obama by name, but he did deride leaders who are blocking the development of the project.
"The State Department's own environmental impact study concluded that they (pipelines) are safe, and Keystone would be safe And let me quote directly from that same study, issued earlier this year: 'A total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by construction of the proposed project,'" Christie said.
The governor conceded the project would create many temporary jobs including those in construction and support, but he said we need more jobs and this is an opportunity to create them but it's being missed.
"Keystone has now languished for much, much too long. It sends a very, very unfortunate signal. Approving Keystone would actually drive down the price of oil and help consumers in all North American countries," Christie told the assembled crowd. "It should be done. It should be done already."
While he did not specifically mention the Democratic Party, Christie did note that the Keystone project is supported by majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Environmentalists in the Garden State who oppose the project were paying close attention to Christie's address. Following the speech, Jim Walsh, state director of the Food and Water Watch, emailed a response statement.
"Given all we now know about the devastating impact fossil fuel development has on our climate, it's shameful that Gov. Christie would travel the continent encouraging America and our neighbors to dig deeper into an oil and gas hole," wrote Walsh. "Here in New Jersey, the governor's recent approval of numerous oil, gas and Keystone-related infrastructure projects is sadly condemning our state to a continued role as a dirty emissions hub and waste dumping ground. Christie's legacy will be one of pollution and climate change, not climate progress."
During a question and answer session following his speech, Christie was also asked to announce that he was running for president. He did not take the bait other than to mostly make light of the topic.
"He's giving me advice to announce for the presidency of my country in a foreign country," Christie joked. "As my friend Donald Trump would say, 'You're fired.'"
The governor reminded the group that he has made no mystery about the fact that he is thinking about running for president.
"I've also made no mystery about the fact that I'm not going to make any decision until well into next year," the governor said. "I'm not the shy and retiring type so when I make a decision I'll be sure to tell you, but when I make a decision and announce it my instinct, it's my instinct on this is that I should probably announce it in the United States."
Also during the Q&A, Christie got an opportunity to talk about his success as chairman of the Republican Governors Association in the year leading up to November's elections.
"It was not lost upon people to see that as incumbents lost in lots of places around this country that we as governors only lost two of our incumbent Republican governors out of 22 and added four new Republican governors at the same time in states that had previously been governed by Democrats so that's a referendum not on our party as much as it's a referendum on a way of doing business," Christie said.
It can be generally stated that Christie knows how to play to a crowd regardless of the crowd and he used his appearance to tell the Canadian audience that because of his sons he is a "hockey dad." He was also given an NHL Calgary Flames jersey with his name and #1 on the back. The governor's eldest son Andrew was presented with two jerseys.