President Obama announced that the State Department determined that the Keystone XL Pipeline would ‘not serve the national interest of the United States’. In February Obama had vetoed a bill that would have set the project in motion. The Senate had failed to gather the two-third majority needed to override the veto. The veto is widely perceived as big win for environmental activists, and a blow to the oil industry.
In his speech, Obama criticized the the”overinflated” role the pipeline had occupied in political discourse, where it had become a symbol rather than part of a sensible energy policy.
Here are the State Department’s three reasons for why the Keystone XL pipeline is not in “the national interest”:
First: The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it. If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come.(…)
Second: The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. In fact, gas prices have already been falling — steadily. The national average gas price is down about 77 cents over a year ago. It’s down a dollar over two years ago. It’s down $1.27 over three years ago. Today, in 41 states, drivers can find at least one gas station selling gas for less than two bucks a gallon. So while our politics have been consumed by a debate over whether or not this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.
Third: Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security. What has increased America’s energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. Three years ago, I set a goal to cut our oil imports in half by 2020. Between producing more oil here at home, and using less oil throughout our economy, we met that goal last year — five years early. In fact, for the first time in two decades, the United States of America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries.
The President also used the opportunity to tie the issue of the pipeline into a call to all Americans to get real in the fight against climate change:
If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now. Not later. Not someday. Right here, right now. And I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together. I’m optimistic because our own country proves, every day — one step at a time — that not only do we have the power to combat this threat, we can do it while creating new jobs, while growing our economy, while saving money, while helping consumers, and most of all, leaving our kids a cleaner, safer planet at the same time.