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President Obama Rejects TransCanada's Keystone Project
Citing the project's potentially harmful climate impact, President Obama on Nov. 6 announced his administration has rejected TransCanada Corporation's proposed Keystone XL pipeline project. TransCanada's stock price slumped on the news, and its CEO released a statement criticizing the decision.
"We are disappointed with the President's decision to deny the Keystone XL application," Russ Girling, President and CEO of TransCanada, said in it. "Today, misplaced symbolism was chosen over merit and science -- rhetoric won out over reason. The U.S. consumes over seven million barrels per day more oil than it produces and will continue to do so for decades, even despite U.S. oil production increases. It is disappointing the administration appears to have said yes to more oil imports from Iran and Venezuela over oil from Canada, the United States' strongest ally and trading partner, a country with rule of law and values consistent with the U.S. Today's decision deals a damaging blow to jobs, the economy and the environment on both sides of the border."
The statement also said "tens of thousands of pages of evidence" from the Obama administration "irrefutably show Keystone XL is the safest, most environmentally sound way to transport needed energy to Americans. These reviews further found that approval or denial of Keystone XL would be unlikely to significantly impact the rate of production in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States. In addition, the State Department's review presented compelling evidence that clearly should have satisfied the President's stated test that Keystone XL would not significantly exacerbate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions," adding, "Today's decision cannot be reconciled with the conclusions of the State Department's comprehensive seven year review of the project."
The president said Secretary of State John Kerry informed him Nov. 6 that the State Department has decided the pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. "I agree with that decision," Obama said. "This morning, I also had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. And while he expressed his disappointment, given Canada's position on this issue, we both agreed that our close friendship on a whole range of issues, including energy and climate change, should provide the basis for even closer coordination between our countries going forward. And in the coming weeks, senior members of my team will be engaging with theirs in order to help deepen that cooperation.
"Now, for years, the Keystone pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter. And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others."
He said the pipeline "would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy" and that "shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America's energy security."
"Today, the United States of America is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency," he said. "America is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe. America is leading on climate change by working with other big emitters like China to encourage and announce new commitments to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. In part because of that American leadership, more than 150 nations representing nearly 90 percent of global emissions have put forward plans to cut pollution. America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face: not acting. Today, we're continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we're going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we're going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky."