Nov. 6, 2015 President Obama Agrees with State Department Decision to Reject Keystone Pipeline

"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 national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision...

[L]et me briefly comment on some of the reasons why the State Department rejected this pipeline.

First:  The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy...

Second:  The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers...

Third:  Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America's energy security."

Source:  Barack Obama, "Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline,", Nov. 6, 2015

Feb. 24, 2015 President Obama Vetoes the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act

"I am returning herewith without my approval S. 1, the 'Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.'  Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.

The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously.  But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people.  And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest -- including our security, safety, and environment -- it has earned my veto."

Source:  Barack Obama, "Veto Message to the Senate: S.1, Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act,", Feb. 24, 2015
Jan. 6, 2015 Obama Administration Veto Threat:  Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest

"This piece of legislation is not altogether different than legislation that was introduced in the last Congress, and you’ll recall that we put out a statement of administration position indicating that the President would have vetoed had that bill passed the previous Congress. And I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress the President wouldn't sign it either.

And that's because there’s already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country; that in previous administrations when pipeline projects like this were considered they were evaluated by the State Department and other experts in the administration to reach a determination about whether or not that project was in the national interest.

Now, the thing that is impeding a final conclusion about this pipeline is the fact that the pipeline route has not even been finalized yet, that there continues to be an outstanding question about the route of the pipeline through one part of Nebraska, and that’s related to an ongoing legal matter in Nebraska. Once that is resolved, that should speed the completion of the evaluation of that project.

I think the President has been pretty clear that he does not think that circumventing a well-established process for evaluating these projects is the right thing for Congress to do."

Source:  Josh Earnest, "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest,", Jan. 6, 2015
Dec. 19, 2014 Remarks by the President in Year-End Press Conference

"At issue in Keystone is not American oil. It is Canadian oil that is drawn out of tar sands in Canada. That oil currently is being shipped out through rail or trucks, and it would save Canadian oil companies and the Canadian oil industry an enormous amount of money if they could simply pipe it all the way through the United States down to the Gulf. Once that oil gets to the Gulf, it is then entering into the world market, and it would be sold all around the world…

[T]here is very little impact, nominal impact, on U.S. gas prices - what the average American consumer cares about - by having this pipeline come through. And sometimes the way this gets sold is, let’s get this oil and it’s going to come here. And the implication is, is that’s going to lower gas prices here in the United States. It’s not…

Now, the construction of the pipeline itself will create probably a couple thousand jobs. Those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens. There’s probably some additional jobs that can be created in the refining process down in the Gulf. Those aren’t completely insignificant - it’s just like any other project…

And then, with respect to the cost, all I’ve said is that I want to make sure that if, in fact, this project goes forward, that it’s not adding to the problem of climate change, which I think is very serious and does impose serious costs on the American people…

So, in terms of process, you’ve got a Nebraska judge that’s still determining whether or not the new path for this pipeline is appropriate. Once that is resolved, then the State Department will have all the information it needs to make its decision.

But I’ve just tried to give this perspective, because I think that there’s been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy, and it’s hard to see on paper where exactly they’re getting that information from."

Source: Barack Obama, "Remarks by the President in Year-End Press Conference,", Dec. 19, 2014
June 25, 2013 Remarks by the President on Climate Change

"Now, I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline, the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf. And the State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. That’s how it’s always been done. But I do want to be clear: Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant."

Source: Barack Obama, "Remarks by the President on Climate Change,", June 25, 2013
Jan. 18, 2012 Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline

[Editor's Note: On Jan. 18, 2012 President Obama denied the original 2008 application for the Keystone XL Pipeline. For more information about the Aug. 26, 2011 Environmental Impact Statement, as well as President Obama's Jan. 18, 2012 statement denying the 2008 Keystone XL pipeline permit, please read our resource "Background Information on the 2008 Keystone XL Pipeline Application."]

"Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree."

Source: Barack Obama, "Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline,", Jan. 18, 2012
Related Links: Should the United States Authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline to Import Tar Sand Oil from Canada?

Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review by US State Department

Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1)

What Are Tar Sands / Oil Sands?




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