Environmentalists win big; GOP and oil industry lose ground battle
Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security. ~ President Barack Obama on Keystone XL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Proponents of Keystone XL received bad news from the White House on Friday as President Barack Obama held true to his promise of rejecting any cross-border, multi-state tar sands crude oil pipeline project for the U.S.
“This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that after extensive public outreach and consultation with other cabinet agencies, the state department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the international interests of the United States. I agree with that decision,” Obama said in a press conference from the Roosevelt Room.
Laying out his reasoning, the President highlighted three key failed arguments in favor of the pipelines advancement.
Highlighting Republican mainstay arguments that the pipeline would create jobs in the U.S. and lower gas prices, the president said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy” and “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers.”
Perhaps the most poignant moment of his speech came when he addressed not only the environmental impact caused by pipeline breaches and tar sands spills, but the fallacy that crude was the end all to energy security.
“Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security,” said the President.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse an advocate for clean energy who fought against passage of the pipeline’s permitting applauded the President’s decision.
“The Keystone pipeline would have been a disaster for our environment and public health and would create only a few dozen permanent jobs,” said Whitehouse. ” As the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project made clear, at present and expected oil prices, the additional carbon pollution from the pipeline would have been equivalent of putting nearly six million new cars on the road for 50 years.
Calling attention to the Paris Climate Talks to take place in just a few weeks, Whitehouse spoke of the need to reduce carbon emissions.
“As our country begins implementing the Clean Power Plan and prepares for a positive outcome from the climate talks in Paris, this pipeline was simply inconsistent with our goal of reducing emissions and preventing the worst effects of climate change,” said Whitehouse.
Local environmentalist, Abel Collins saw the State Department and President’s actions as a win for the green movement.
“Killing Keystone was a big symbolic victory for the public and the environment that will have many meaningful impacts, especially for the first nations peoples who were on the front lines,” Collins said on Friday evening.
Former project manager for the Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club, Collins heralded the victory on social media throughout the day.
In addressing Potus’ comments on the left’s concerns about tar sands contributions refinement contributions to carbon emissions and environmental hazards, Collins although in agreement on the project’s failure, was wary to express victory over climate change as a whole.
“I agree that this one project wasn’t the equal of the express lane, but the sad fact remains that despite stopping this project we are still in the “express lane to climate disaster.” ~ Abel Collins.
Rhode Island’s Senior Senator, Jack Reed, who joined Whitehouse in repeatedly voting against the project released a statement in support of the President.
“The Keystone XL pipeline proposal was rejected because it was a bad deal for American taxpayers that would have put short-term profits for oil companies ahead of long-term health, safety, and environmental concerns. The President made the right decision and I hope we can now move forward toward a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable energy future,” said Reed.
“I thank the President for rejecting the pipeline, and I also applaud the years of hard work by environmental advocates across the country who helped to educate the public about the importance of stopping this project,” said Whitehouse.
The President and his supporters noted the need for long-term, sustainable job creation across the country and a continued march towards green energy.
“If Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it,” Obama said. Setting out current statistics, the President noted that the country’s unemployment numbers were down, job growth up and gas prices steadily falling across the country.
Reed supported the President’s call for improvements in local and national infrastructure, a historical boon for job growth.
“Congress must work together to prioritize policies and investments that create sustainable jobs, protect our environment for future generations, and increase our international competitiveness through infrastructure improvements and the continued expansion of smart and renewable energy strategies.”
This article originally appeared on TraceyC-Media on November 6, 2015.