When President Barack Obama blocked approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico last month, he stalled thousands of U.S. jobs and strained U.S. relations with our neighbor to the north. He made a bad decision.But he won't stop one of the most significant and welcome developments in world energy markets: Canada's extraction and sale of massive oil deposits. Getting that supply to market will be slowed, and the U.S. may reap less of an economic benefit from something that has the potential to turn North America into what Citigroup Global Markets calls “the new Middle East.”Politics, meet the law of supply and demand.Energy industry analysts predict Canada's production of liquid petroleum will more than double between now and 2020.For Canada to make the most of its oil wealth, it needs access to export outlets. The Keystone proposal is the safest, most efficient way to accomplish that. TransCanada Corp. remains committed to the project. The company is revising its plan to secure U.S. approval.It may start pipeline construction within the U.S. TransCanada may decide to build a section of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, which would relieve a congested part of the current system. It also may build a section from Montana to link with existing pipelines in Nebraska. No presidential blessing would be required.The Keystone project has won approval from all the states in its path except Nebraska, and that objection can be answered. In November, TransCanada agreed to steer the pipeline around an underground water source in an area of Nebraska known as the Sandhills, answering a concern of critics. Gov. Dave Heineman supports the project, and he has pushed for the federal government to allow Keystone construction to begin in other states while a path through Nebraska is revised.So some work can still proceed in the United States. But it's not guaranteed that it will.Obama's delay of Keystone has breathed new life into alternative plans for bringing Canadian oil to market that are less efficient and would create fewer U.S. jobs. Canada has renewed efforts to build a pipeline from Alberta to ports along the Canadian west coast. The Enbridge Northern Gateway project is complicated by sensitive dealings with Canada's aboriginal communities, as well as environmental concerns. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who denounced Obama's Keystone delay, is pushing for approval of this east-to-west pipeline.One of the most frustrating myths about Keystone is that Canada would be exploiting the U.S. by shipping its oil through this country to sell it in China or elsewhere abroad. World oil prices rise and fall based on how much is produced and how much is consumed. As the No. 1 consumer of oil, the U.S. stands to benefit economically from increased production.In particular, the U.S. stands to benefit from encouraging oil production in North America and refining in the U.S. That means jobs right here at home.This part of the planet is blessed with vast resources only now being tapped as a result of technological advances, including oil sands and shale gas. The responsible development of North America's hydrocarbon reserves could go a long way toward putting the U.S. on track for job growth and renewed prosperity. It could give a huge boost to energy-intensive industries, from petrochemicals and fertilizer to steel.The Keystone pipeline should be built, and North American energy resources should be developed. A lot of unemployed U.S. citizens don't want to have to wait out a presidential election before they can go to work.