After six years the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline is over. And the good guys won. President Obama rejected the pipeline last Friday morning after meeting with his Secretary of State John Kerry. The State Department found that the pipeline would not be in the country’s national interest, and Obama agreed.
The President brought it down to three simple reasons as to why he rejected it:
1. He felt the pipeline wouldn’t make any meaningful long-term contribution to the economy. As Obama put it: “If Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” The pipeline would have only created abut 35 permanent jobs it turns out, so he has a good point.
2. The pipeline won’t lead to lower gas prices given the current state of global oil prices.
3. And as Obama puts it: “Shipping dirtier crude oil into our county would not increase America’s energy security.”
This is actually more symbolic than anything, especially with COP21 coming up in Paris next month. In messages that couldn’t be any clearer for the whole world to hear, Obama said “The time to act is now. Not later, not someday, right here, right now.” And John Kerry had this to say about it:
“The critical factor in my determination [as Secretary of State] was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combating climate change. I am also convinced that public arguments for and against the pipeline have, to some extent, been overstated. Our analysis makes it clear that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be the economic driver it is heralded to be. Decades of science prove beyond any reasonable doubt that human activity is a direct cause of the rising seas, increasing temperatures, and intensifying storms threatening our planet—and the window of opportunity for action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change is closing quickly. I have seen the world try and fail to address this threat for decades. Today, the need for American leadership to combat climate change has never been greater, and we must answer the call. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves. Denying the Keystone XL pipeline is one of those tough choices—but it is the right decision, for America and the world.
Keystone XL has been a target for environmentalists over the years. Its sole purpose is to transport crude oil in the form of bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta, the most carbon-intensive form of oil, down to the Gulf Coast. That oil would have been responsible for 181 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of 51 coal-fired power plants.
If America is looking for energy independence, it shouldn’t rely on dirty carbon-intensive oil from Canada, it should invest in renewables instead.