On the recommendation of the State Department, President Barack Obama denied the application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline today. While environmental and public health concerns figured heavily into the president’s decision, the rejection also served as a wrap on the knuckles for House republicans.
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” said Obama. “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”
The president did, however, leave the door open for the construction of a similar, but smaller, pipeline down the road. “In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security—including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico—even as we set higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and invest in alternatives like biofuels and natural gas,” said Obama. “And we will do so in a way that benefits American workers and businesses without risking the health and safety of the American people and the environment.”
As previously reported, the Keystone XL Pipeline would’ve stretched from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Business groups were split, with environmentally-minded groups staunchly opposing it and others, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supporting it.
“This political decision offers hard evidence that creating jobs is not a high priority for this administration,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue upon news of the pipeline’s rejection. “The president’s decision sends a strong message to the business community and to investors: keep your money on the sidelines, America is not open for business. By placing politics over policy, the Obama administration is sacrificing tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs in the short term, and many more than that in the long term.”
Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer