This afternoon, the Obama administration announced its rejection of Canada’s proposed Keystone tar sands pipeline … but TransCanada will be allowed to submit a new application for an alternate route (which they undoubtedly will).
The pipeline would deliver 700,000 barrels a day of the dirtiest crude oil down the spine of the US to the Gulf.
Obama didn’t make the decision based on the merits of the plan, but because the GOP forced him to make a decision in 2 months, he had no choice but to reject it. The GOP attached a 2- month decision on the pipeline to the unrelated payroll tax bill.
“As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said in a prepared statement.
House and Senate Republicans are far from giving up. Besides making it a campaign issue, they’re considering legislation to ram through the project, again attached to the payroll tax cut bill, which comes up again in early February.
The GOP has been pushing hard for the pipeline’s approval, saying it will create 20,000 jobs, while reducing US reliance on
Those job numbers have been shown to be greatly exaggerated - the State Department estimates about 5000-6000 temporary jobs would result.
Constructing high speed rail would create millions of jobs, but the GOP rejects that.
And the pipeline would not bring crude to the US. It would travel through the US and then be exported from the Gulf, benefiting only the oil industry.
The Administration had postponed the decision upon further environmental review after the State Department’s initial review was shown to be extremely biased.
A national network of over 500 local government officials – the Climate Communities coalition – believes the pipeline would undermine their efforts to advance clean transportation initiatives at the local, state and national levels.
Reps Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said of Obama’s decision:
“We’re pleased the President is not being intimidated by attempts to short-circuit the review process for the Keystone XL pipeline,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). “This is not just any pipeline. It would carry tar sands oil, which is more polluting than conventional crude oil, from Canada’s boreal forest, through sensitive ecosystems and water supplies in the Midwest, to the
Gulf Coast for refinement and likely export. Despite exaggerated jobs claims by pipeline supporters, there is no national security or economic reason to expedite approval of this project, which could be environmentally damaging and unsafe.”
Americans submitted over 250,000 public comments against the pipeline and 1,253 people were arrested as part of a pivotal protest at the White House.