After keeping the project on hold for years, President Obama on Friday officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.
The project "would not serve the national interests of the United States," Mr. Obama declared from the White House with Vice President Joe Bide and Secretary of State John Kerry by his side.
The nearly 1,200-mile underground oil pipeline would have linked the tar sands fields of northern Alberta to oil refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. TransCanada Corporation first submitted an application for the project in 2008, leaving the decision looming over Mr. Obama's entire presidency.
Over the years, as Mr. Obama touted investments in alternative energy and the GOP lambasted the administration's regulations over fossil fuels, Keystone became a symbol of the conflict between liberals and conservatives over energy policy.
Mr. Obama said the pipeline played an "over-inflated role in our political discourse" and was "too often used a campaign cudgel."
The reality, he said, is that "this pipeline will neither be a silver bullet for the economy... nor the expresslane for climate disaster proclaimed by others."
The project required State Department approval, since it crossed international lines, and the administration promised a decision on the controversial matter before the end of Mr. Obama's presidency.
But in fact, Mr. Obama's decision comes days after TransCanada announced that it had actually asked the State Department to suspend its review of the project while the company worked with Nebraska authorities on the preferred route.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released the following state,
“It continues to be absolutely mind-boggling that President Obama and his administration will not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s an important driver of economic growth and even President Obama’s State Department says it will create over 42,000 jobs. It will also support North American Energy production, which is good for both our economic security and our national security.
Hopefully, future leadership in the White House will reverse this decision and make energy policy based on common sense instead of political pressure from anti-fossil fuel extremists.”
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement on the President’s announcement,
“We finally have the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ the President could not give years ago. For seven years, the Obama Administration has delayed the application to build the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Mexico without justification. With their application pending for 2604 days, the Administration denied a simple request to build a safe pipeline to transport crude oil. The President has completely ignored the 19 crude oil cross-border pipelines currently operating in the U.S., two of which were approved last summer. The Administration has failed to make the case for how this project is different. It is clear this decision was made to appease the environmental enthusiasts and not based on the merits of the project.”