Updated at 3:42 pm ET
President Obama announced this afternoon he has decided to nix the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported millions of barrels of oil from Canada all the way to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The move will please Obama’s environmentalist allies, who have been pulling their pony tails out over his failure to push Cap and Trade, his delay of greenhouse gas regulations, his sudden enthusiasm for drilling, and other matters.
But the self-proclaimed guardian of U.S. jobs will not make the working man happy with this one, no matter how may NASCAR events he sends Michelle to attend.
Obama could have let the pipeline move forward instead of deciding in November that he would await a new State Department environmental review that was scheduled conveniently to last until just after Election Day.
The new review was begun in response to protests from environmentalists and officials in Nebraska, through which the pipeline will run, over a positive review that had already been conducted. AFTERWARD, TransCanada, the company that was to build the pipeline, agreed to alter the route.
NOW, the White House is now claiming that the State Department needs until 2013 to review the pipeline because it will move along a new route through Nebraska, where the old route was not popular.
Even so, faced with new legislation that requires him to make a decision by next month, Obama could have at least approved the pipeline contingent on the completion of the new post-election environmental review.
Instead, he had decided to scrap it. And, in a written statement, he blamed Republicans.
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. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.
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. I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision.
This is what TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, optimistically predicted late last year.
TransCanada believes Keystone XL will ultimately be approved, as it is too important to the U.S. economy and its national interest. As well, Keystone XL remains the best option for producers to supply crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast Refineries.
The U.S. consumes 15 million barrels of oil each day and imports 10 to 11 million barrels per day. Industry forecasts predict oil consumption will continue at these levels for the next two to three decades, so a secure supply of crude oil is critical to U.S. energy security.
Keystone XL is shovel-ready. TransCanada is poised to put 13,000 Americans to work to construct the pipeline – pipefitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators, among other jobs – in addition to 7,000 manufacturing jobs that would be created across the U.S. Additionally, local businesses along the pipeline route will benefit from the 118,000 spin-off jobs Keystone XL will create through increased business for local goods and service providers.
The Keystone XL would have added half a million barrels a day, representing about five percent of out total imports. And all of it from Canadians who are never known to shout “Death to America.”
The announcement, according to reports, will be made out of the State Department at 3 pm today. Look for White House Press Jay Carney to cleverly avoid taking questions on the matter, since it has not been officially “announced.”