Obama Administration Says No To Keystone XL Pipeline -- For Now

After Republicans in Congress put a deadline on the President's decision to defer a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama Administration responded:

Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. 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, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil. Under my Administration, domestic oil and natural gas production is up, while imports of foreign oil are down. 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. 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.

Republicans, as you'll see from the clip above, are predictably anxious to make this decision about jobs, because suddenly they're very interested in job creation after spending their first year of the 112th Congress waging war on women, the social safety net, and the poor. Mitt Romney stepped right up with a predictable condemnation.

Via Talking Points Memo:

President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is as shocking as it is revealing. It shows a President who once again has put politics ahead of sound policy. If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin. By declaring that the Keystone pipeline is not in the ‘national interest,’ the President demonstrates a lack of seriousness about bringing down unemployment, restoring economic growth, and achieving energy independence. He seems to have confused the national interest with his own interest in pleasing the environmentalists in his political base.

Of course, it should be noted that Speaker Boehner has some key investments in the Keystone XL pipeline, and the talking points used by Republicans around it are largely lies, especially when it comes to oil prices and jobs.

Ezra Klein reminds that the battle is far from over:

Now, this doesn’t mean the pipeline is dead and buried. TransCanada will reportedly be allowed to reapply for permits once it comes up with an alternative pipeline route that doesn’t run through Nebraska’s Sandhills. This will delay the project further, because the company probably will have to grind through the permitting process all over again, but it’s possible that the company could eventually win approval. (TransCanada’s share price plunged when rumors of the rejection first emerged, but the stock now seems to be slowly recovering.)

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