Citing a possible risk to "the health and safety of the American people and the environment," President Obama today issued a statement on TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline, following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's decision to deny the pending application. Calling the Feb. 21, 2012 decision date mandated by Congressional Republicans and tacked onto the pay roll tax cut a "rushed and arbitrary deadline," the President said he agrees with the decision. He added that he is "disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision."
The $7 billion oil pipeline would have linked the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The State Department, which has the authority to approve or reject proposals that cross international boundaries, indicated last November that it would reject the application for the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would go through six US states.
The President's full statement:
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.