Christie Vilsack announces her candidacy as her husband and grandson look on. (file photo)

Fourth district congressional candidate, Christie Vilsack, a Democrat, is pushing what she says is a new energy policy for the country.

 That includes support of the proposed Keystone X-L oil pipeline from Canada through Nebraska to the Gulf Coast.

President Obama, also a Democrat, put the pipeline on hold, saying there needs to be more time to study the safety of the pipeline. Vilsack says she understands the environmental concerns, but says the jobs trump them.

“I think that there are times in history when jobs are so important that we need to make sure we focus on jobs…I think we have the capability of figuring out the technology that will helps up move that piece of the pipeline through Nebraska in a safe way. We can find that, we can find the technology, we can find the way to move it,” Vilsack says.

Vilsack’s opponent, Republican Congressman Steve King, was highly critical of Obama’s decision on the pipeline, saying it was a political decision bowing to environmental extremist.

Vilsack also addressed another controversial energy issue. She says it is up to the state legislature to debate proposals like MidAmerican Energy’s request to build new nuclear power plants, but says no energy options should be ruled out.

“I think we leave everything on the table, everything on the table, all sources of energy,” Vilsack said. “I don’t think we have the luxury in this country with as much energy that we consume that we can turn our backs on any of it.

Vilsack’s plan includes developing new biofuels and renewing the $1 tax credit for biofuel production. Her energy policy also calls for creating an energy council that she said would set policy for the next 50 years.

“These would not be political appointments, they would be using the people who know the most about energy policy in this country, and challenging them to come up with a 50-year plan,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack is the wife of former Iowa governor and current U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. She made her comments during a stop in Sioux City to tour MidAmerican’s Port Neal energy plant.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City