Obama quashes Keystone XL in bid to boost climate leverage

President Obama on Friday gives up thousands of U.S. jobs and a key piece of energy movement technology just to give himself more leverage to broker an environmental treaty that no other nation in the world will follow.

From the Associated Press

Ending a seven-year political saga, President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal at the center of his environmental legacy.

Obama’s decision marked an unambiguous victory for environmental activists who spent years denouncing the pipeline, lobbying the administration and even chaining themselves to tractors to make their point about the threat posed by dirty fossil fuels. It also places the president and fellow Democrats in direct confrontation with Republicans and energy advocates heading into the 2016 presidential election.

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Read Sen. Roy Blunt’s reaction to Obama’s action by clicking here

Congressman Sam Graves released the following statement:

“The decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline should have never been a question,” Rep. Graves said. “President Obama claims the jobs created by this project are only temporary, but that argument is oversimplified and misleading. No construction job is permanent, but all benefit our economy. The fact of the matter is that this project would create jobs and lower our dependence on oil from unstable parts of the world, and I am deeply disappointed in the President’s decision.”

And the National Association of Manufacturers released this statement from its Vice President, Energy and Resources Policy, Ross Eisenberg;

“Today, the President disappointed manufacturers across the country when he denied TransCanada Corporation its permit to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline. We believe he made a historic mistake. First off, no company should have to wait seven years for a decision on a permit—particularly if the answer is no. Today’s decision is a clear signal that the U.S. isn’t open for business for everyone. It also undermines the existing permitting process—one that is supposed to set clear rules of the road for companies to meet to secure approval. The Administration continually raised the bar for approval of Keystone XL, and every time TransCanada met (or exceeded) it, the Administration raised it again.

Manufacturers should be concerned with a number of statements from the President’s speech denying the pipeline, including:

  1. The President asserts Keystone XL would make “no meaningful long-term contribution to the economy.” That is clearly false. The project would have created over 42,000 jobs and $3.4 billion in GDP, according to the Department of State. This is a disturbing point of view with respect to the importance of pipeline infrastructure (or any other infrastructure, for that matter). We have over 61,000 miles of oil pipelines in this country. Like all other infrastructure, these are major job creators for the manufacturing sector.
  1. The President asserts that Keystone XL would not increase our energy security, because we’re producing more domestic crude oil and using less. While we are in fact producing more domestic oil and improving our fuel efficiency, those two facts have little bearing on whether a new pipeline is needed. Many domestic refineries have been optimized to handle the type of heavy crude oil produced from Canada’s oil sands, and it is prohibitively expensive to switch them back to handle the lighter domestic crude being extracted from our onshore shale plays. There is a clear market for Canadian crude in the U.S. Moreover, introducing more North American crude oil into the global oil supply chain will have a positive impact on our energy security, which is why the Keystone XL Pipeline should have gotten its permit.
  1. Finally, the President asserts that granting Keystone XL’s permit would have undercut his global leadership on climate change, particularly during the lead-up to December’s global climate negotiations in Paris. The permitting process for new infrastructure projects was not designed as a tool for global climate negotiations. Moreover, the State Department found that Keystone XL was the route with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any possible route for Canadian crude to enter the United States.

In the end, the President chose politics over policy. That much is clear. Given the overwhelming case for approval, the seven-years-long delay and today’s stunning disapproval, we expect manufacturers will not soon forget the message sent by the Obama Administration today.”

To learn more about KXL click here.

Associated Industries of Missouri is the sole official designated partner of the National Association of Manufacturers in Missouri.