President Barack Obama has rejected outright the Keystone XL oil pipeline proposal, just ahead of global climate talks in Paris and less than a week after TransCanada Corp. asked for the government to halt its review of the controversial project.
“This morning, Secretary [of State] John Kerry informed me that after extensive public outreach, in consultation with other cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interests of the United States,” Obama said in an announcement to reporters at the White House. “I agree with that decision.”
“Second, the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” he said, reflecting results of various studies that had demonstrated just that.
Further, “shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security,” Obama said. “What has increased America’s energy security is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world.”
Although TransCanada and others in the oil industry had touted the project’s job-creation potential, studies had shown that it would not in fact create many jobs.
The 1,700-mile-long, $8 billion pipeline would have brought 800,000 barrels per day of bituminous crude from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in Texas. The project was under review by the U.S. Department of State because it would cross the border between the two countries.
Studies showed the project would have contributed to global warming by increasing the capacity of the oil sands, adding even more carbon to the atmosphere—something Obama had said would cause him to reject the proposal.
Environmentalists and other opponents called the move a victory for Earth’s—which is to say, everyone’s—land and water.
“We stood our ground, and today President Obama stood with us, the pipeline fighters,” said Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, where the pipeline’s route is mired in legal challenges. “Tonight landowners can finally go to sleep knowing their family is safe and sound. Our unlikely alliance showed America that hard work and scientific facts can beat Big Oil’s threat to our land and water.”