Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline
It’s official, the Keystone XL pipeline deal is dead. President Barack Obama axed the deal on Friday, citing the climate and American economy as two major reasons why the deal failed to survive the discussion process.
Secretary of State John Kerry concluded that the project was not in the best interests of the United States.
“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly approving this project would have undercut that leadership,” Obama said.
The massive project has been a seven-year political football during presidential and congressional elections that has pitted oil companies and Republicans against environmentalists and liberal activists. The State Department has been reviewing the project for much of Obama’s time in the White House.
The move comes as the White House continues to promote its environmental agenda and efforts to fight climate change. Next month, Obama will attend the Paris climate talks, he announced Friday. The White House is hoping to broker an international agreement committing every country to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enact other policies to curb global warming.
Obama said he spoke with new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the decision.
Liberals and environmentalists, including top donors such as California’s Tom Steyer, who has committed tens of millions of dollars to fighting pro-pipeline political candidates, protested Keystone and made it a cause celebre among Democrats.
The project was a major issue during the 2012 presidential campaign, when GOP candidate Mitt Romney said he would approve the pipeline. Republican candidates in the 2016 race have also pledged to let the project go forward.
In his speech, Obama said that he believed Keystone has had an “over-inflated role in our political discourse, and said the project’s potential to create jobs and the potential environmental threats were exagerrated.
“All of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be the silver bullet to the U.S. economy proclaimed by some, or” the death knell to climate proclaimed by others,” Obama said.
Obama also cited falling gasoline prices as another argument against the project.
“While our politics have been consumed by a debate about whether or not this pipeline would create jobs or lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.”
The average price of regular gasoline hit $3.94 per gallon in April 2012 and stayed well above $3 for the rest of that election year. But this year, prices have been steadily below $3 per gallon.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also been caught up in Keystone politics. In October 2010, Clinton indicated she was “inclined” to approve the project but has since backed away from that stance, and in September said she opposes it. Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley also oppose the pipeline, and Clinton faced criticism from the left for not taking a firm stance.
Related: Hillary Clinton’s 5 takes on the Keystone Pipeline
Sanders noted his long-standing opposition to the project in a statement Friday. “It is insane for anyone to be supporting the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fuel on earth,” he said. “As someone who has led the opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Day 1, I strongly applaud the president’s decision to kill this project once and for all.”
See the full story at CNN.
Photo credit: Watch Dog.