President Barack Obama has announced that his administration will reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, stating that it “would not serve the national interests of the United States.” As such, TransCanada, the company who proposed the mission, will not be allowed to move forward with it.
The proposed pipeline would have moved up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada’s oil sands to Steele City, Nebraska, every day. The pipeline would also have connected to other pipelines already in existence, all the way to refineries in the Gulf Coast. The project would have spanned 1,700 miles and crossed six U.S. states.
However, President Obama, whose second term has focused largely on climate change and environmental well-being, felt that Keystone project would have caused more detriment to the planet than good. “Ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,” he said.
Environmental activists vocally opposed the Keystone pipeline because it would have increased reliance of fossil fuels. Though the pipeline would have contributed a number of jobs to the economy, its cost may have hindered progression on more sustainable energy practices.
The project itself was over budget: TransCanada had already put $2.5 billion into its construction, with an estimated total cost of $10 billion as delays and the problems with permits delayed the project further and further. The original price estimate for the Keystone pipeline was closer to $5 billion total.
President Obama’s decision has been called a “big win” by the executive director of environmentalist organization 350.org, May Boeve. But it has also been criticized by several Republican representatives, namely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) who accused Mr. Obama of “appeasing deep-pocketed special interests and extremists.” House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the decision was not “surprising, but it is sickening.”
The president had already rejected a Republican-backed bill to make the project a priority in February of this year, so the full rejection of the project was not a surprise to many.