President Barack Obama announced on Friday his decision to reject TransCanada’s permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, ending one of the most controversial and hard-fought environmental battles in recent years.
“This morning Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive review, the State Department has decided the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the interests of the United States,” he said, adding “I agree with that decision.”
Senate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama had caved to special interests and “extremists.”
“Given this project’s importance to North American energy independence, the question still remains not if but when Keystone will be built. Republicans have no intention of giving up on common-sense jobs ideas like Keystone. Our nation’s long-term need for the energy and jobs Keystone would provide will certainly outlast the little over a year remaining in the term of the current Administration.”
The $8 billion pipeline would have transported 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Environmentalist drew a line in the sand over the project, saying approval would be “game over for the climate.”
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the decision represented a “courageous leap forward” in combatting climate change.
“Rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is right for our nation, for our children and for our planet,” she said. “It would have locked in, for a generation or more, massive development of among the dirtiest fuels on the planet — posing a serious threat to our air, land water, and climate. The proposal, pushed largely by the fossil fuel industry, was a recipe for disaster. In no way was the pipeline in America’s national interest.”
Obama’s decision comes less than a week after TransCanada requested a delay from the administrating in deciding on whether or not to green light the project.
Following TransCanada’s request the State Department, which Obama designated as the lead agency to review the permit, said it would continue its deliberation of the company’s proposal. And the White House said Obama would make a decision on the project before the end of his term.