Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline bid
President Obama announced Friday that he has rejected Canadian energy giant TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the pipeline was not in the U.S. national interest.
“The State Department has decided the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the interests of the United States. I agree with that decision,” Obama said at a White House press conference.
The announcement caps a 7-year saga that has become one of the biggest environmental flashpoints of Obama’s presidency. It comes just days after the State Department refused to agree to TransCanada’s request to suspend the review process on the controversial project, which has seen enormous opposition from environmental groups.
Killing the pipeline allows Obama to claim aggressive action on the environment. That could strengthen his hand as world leaders prepare to finalize a major global climate pact next month in Paris that Obama hopes will be a crowning jewel for his legacy.
Alberta-based TransCanada first applied for Keystone permits in September 2008 — shortly before Obama was elected. As envisioned, Keystone would snake from Canada’s tar sands through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, then connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to specialized refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Democrats and environmental groups latched onto Keystone as emblematic of the type of dirty fossil fuels that must be phased out. Environmentalists chained themselves to construction equipment and the White House fence in protest.
But Republicans, Canadian politicians and the energy industry touted what they said were profound economic benefits — thousands of U.S. construction jobs and billions injected into the economy. They argued transporting crude by pipeline would be safer than alternatives like rail, and charged Obama with hypocrisy for complaining about the lack of investment in U.S. infrastructure while obstructing an $8 billion project.
Obama dismissed the claims that Keystone would be a major job creator.
“If Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this is not the way to do it,” he said, before calling for a bipartisan infrastructure plan that he says would make a more significant impact on job creation.
Republicans called the decision disappointing.
“President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a huge mistake, and is the latest reminder that this administration continues to prioritize the demands of radical environmentalists over America’s energy security,” said. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum condemned the decision in a tweet.Follow enlightenedlbrl