It didn’t take long for President Obama’s delaying of the Keystone XL pipeline to start having disastrous economic consequences. Fox 16 reports from Little Rock, Ark., that 60 employees at a local steel pipe manufacturer are now out of work as a direct result of the President’s indecision:

Layoffs and a brief company shutdown is what employees face at Welspun Tubular Company, which makes steel pipes for the oil industry.

Company leaders say miles of pipe are on the property and that has caused five dozen employees to lose their jobs. The pipes would be part of the Keystone oil pipeline, which is a project running oil from Canada to Texas.

But plans are delayed on the federal level. Now leaders say the local job market is affected.

“We had to make a staffing reduction with some of the temporary employees. Due to the KXL pipeline not being shipped out. We have 500 miles of pipe just sitting in the yard, expected to be shipped out, that some of the employees were working on,” said President Dave Delie.

With 13.3 million Americans out of work, the last thing the U.S. economy can afford is more job losses, and the number one thing it needs is job creation. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has delivered the opposite. And apart from putting these Arkansas workers out of a job, the President is preventing the creation of thousands more jobs, not to mention economic development and improved access to energy resources. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains in a new paper:

The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would deliver an additional 700,000 to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to the U.S. from Canada, the U.S.’s largest supplier of oil. Not only is the delay preventing additional imports from Canada, it is also preventing the creation of thousands of private-sector jobs. Building the pipeline would directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs; the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.

The President’s decision to postpone action until after the 2012 election comes despite the fact that the State Department thoroughly studied potential environmental impacts of the Keystone pipeline and found minimal risk to soil, water, air, and animal life. Still, environmentalists oppose construction of the pipeline in force. Loris writes that the pipeline has support from both sides of the political aisle and would deliver economic benefits spanning the nation:

Recognizing the need for more energy supply and more jobs, both Democrats and Republicans expressed support for the Keystone XL pipeline, a $20 billion private-infrastructure investment in the United States. The states through which the pipeline would pass—Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas—would benefit greatly. The six states are collectively projected to receive $5.2 billion in property taxes from TransCanada in the course of the 100-year operating life of the pipeline.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Congress can and should authorize the Keystone project—allowing pipeline construction and job creation, to begin immediately.

Read more of Loris’ paper, Unnecessary Keystone XL Pipeline Delay Obstructs Energy, Jobs, at