The Obama Files

Keystone XL Decision

January 24, 2012

Obama’s political calculation to reject the Keystone XL pipeline will cost American jobs and deny America the opportunity to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

Obama Decision To Kill Keystone XL Was Described As “An Act Of National Insanity”

Obama Blamed Congressional Republicans “Arbitrary Deadline” For His Decision To Kill The Keystone XL Pipeline. “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.” (The White House, “Statement By The President On The Keystone XL Pipeline,” 1/18/12)

Obama’s Keystone Decision “Is An Act Of National Insanity.” “President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and — beyond the symbolism — won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it.” (Robert Samuelson, Op-Ed, “President Obama’s Keystone Madness,” Real Clear Politics, 1/20/12)

  • “All It Tells Us Is That Obama Is So Obsessed With His Re-Election That, Through Some Sort Of Political Calculus, He Believes That Placating His Environmental Supporters Will Improve His Chances.” (Robert Samuelson, Op-Ed, “President Obama’s Keystone Madness,” Real Clear Politics, 1/20/12)

Obama’s “Standard” Was Not In “The National Interest” But Rather His Own “Political Interest.” “By law, Obama’s decision was supposed to reflect “the national interest.” His standard was his political interest. The State Department had spent three years evaluating Keystone and appeared ready to approve the project by year-end 2011. Then the administration, citing opposition to the pipeline’s route in Nebraska, reversed course and postponed a decision to 2013 — after the election.” (Robert Samuelson, Op-Ed, “President Obama’s Keystone Madness,” Real Clear Politics, 1/20/12)

Washington Post Editorial: “Obama’s Keystone Rejection Is Hard To Accept.” “ON TUESDAY, President Obama’s Jobs Council reminded the nation that it is still hooked on fossil fuels, and will be for a long time.’Continuing to deliver inexpensive and reliable energy,’ the council reported, ‘is going to require the United States to optimize all of its natural resources and construct pathways (pipelines, transmission and distribution) to deliver electricity and fuel.’ . . . Mr. Obama’s Jobs Council could start by calling out. . . the Obama administration.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Keystone Pipeline Rejection Is Hard To Accept,” Washington Post, 1/18/12)

Time’s Joe Klein: Obama’s Keystone Decision Was A “Very Big Mistake.” “No, the campaign this year is like the stupid Olympics. These guys — Obama just made, I think, a very big mistake at a time when we have 9% unemployment, the one most important consideration in any political decision is jobs. And whether there are 2,500 jobs or 2,000 jobs, you go with it.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 1/19/12)

Obama’s Hometown Paper The Chicago Tribune: “Obama Made A Decision That Will Cost The U.S. Good Jobs.” “Obama made a decision that will deny the U.S. a reliable source of oil. Note that Canada has never threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz. Obama made a decision that will cost the U.S. good jobs. He seems to think those jobs will still be there when he gets around to making a decision on the pipeline. But they may well be gone for good.” (Editorial, “Pipeline Politics: Misguided Obama Blocks Keystone Pipeline,” Chicago Tribune, 1/19/12)

Buffalo News Editorial: “If President Obama wanted to prove that he’s in favor of jobs for Americans and less reliance on Mideast oil, then he blew that opportunity with his decision to reject plans for a massive oil pipeline through the United States.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Bad Call,” Buffalo News, 1/20/12)

  • “Obama And His Administration, In What Some Are Calling A Political Decision To Appease A Vocal Environmental Group, Intend To Take Their Time On This, Despite The Looming Concerns Of Employment And Economic Growth. It’s A Miscalculation.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Bad Call,” Buffalo News, 1/20/12)

Laborers’ International Called Obama’s Keystone Decision “Politics At Its Worst.” ‘”The score is Job-Killers, two; American workers, zero. We are completely and totally disappointed. This is politics at its worst,’ LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said. ‘Once again the President has sided with environmentalists instead of blue collar construction workers – even though environmental concerns were more than adequately addressed. Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this.’” (Laborers’ International Union of North America , “Job-Killers, 2; American Workers, 0,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

The Keystone Pipeline Could Create Thousands of Jobs

The $7 Billion Project, Which Is Shovel Ready, Would Create 20,000 Jobs. “By delaying a decision on the $7 billion project, which is ‘shovel-ready’ and would immediately produce an estimated 20,000 well-paying jobs in this country, Obama has avoided offending environmentalists on his party’s left, a key fund-raising and voting bloc. We understand that. In a close election, these votes could make a crucial difference for the president. But the administration’s attempts to cover this self-evident situation with a variety of fig leaves are utterly disingenuous.” (Editorial, “Keystone Pipeline Delay Is The Wrong Call,” Houston Chronicle, 11/11/11)

  • The Pipeline Would Produce 100,000 Additional Indirect Jobs In Service And Supplies. “Gary Doer, the Canadian ambassador to the United States, said building the pipeline would produce 20,000 construction jobs and 100,000 additional indirect jobs in services and supplies. ‘It’s good for the U.S. economy, U.S. jobs and U.S. energy security,’ he said. ‘If you ask Americans, would you choose Canada over the Middle East, they’d say yes.’” (John M. Broder & Clifford Krauss, “U.S. Offers Key Support To Canadian Pipeline,” The New York Times, 8/26/11)
  • The Completed Pipeline Could Result In As Many As 130,000 Jobs. “Eventually, the completed pipeline was expected to result in as many as 130,000 jobs, many of them on the upper Texas Coast, where the heavy oil would be refined into 700,000 barrels of oil daily.” (Editorial, “Keystone Pipeline Delay Is The Wrong Call,” Houston Chronicle, 11/11/11)

The Pipeline Could Help America’s Energy Independence

“The Keystone Cop-Out Couldn’t Be A Clearer Expression That This Administration Puts Its Anticarbon Obsessions—And Big Green Campaign Donors—Above Job Creation And Blue-Collar Construction Workers.” (Editorial, “Keystone Cop-Out,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/11)

“The Oil From Canada Could Ultimately Supplant Much Of The Oil The United States Imports From The Middle East And Other Unstable Regions. It Could Give The Country A Measure Of Energy Security.” (Editorial, “Pipeline Delay An Insult To Jobless,” The Detroit News, 11/14/11)

“The pipeline is needed to maintain supplies of heavy crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries as imports decline, according to today’s State Department report.” (David Lerman & Jim Efstathiou Jr., “TransCanada Pipeline’s Environment Risk Limited, U.S. Finds,” Bloomberg, 8/26/11)

Former Obama Advisor Was Baffled With His Decision

Obama’s Former Council Of Economic Advisers Chairman, Austan Goolsbee, Said Opponents Of Keystone XL Pipeline Are “Naive.” “People in the U.S. opposing TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline are being ‘naive,’ said Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  ‘It’s a bit naïve to think the tar sands would not be developed if they don’t build that pipeline,’ said Goolsbee, speaking today in Toronto at the Economic Club of Canada. ‘Eventually, it’s going to be built. It may go to the Pacific, it may go through Nebraska, but it’s going to be built somewhere.’” (Sean B. Pasternak, “Goolsbee Says U.S. Opponents Of Transcanada’s Keystone Pipeline Are Naïve,” Bloomberg, 11/28/11)

Members Of Obama’s Own Party Blasted His Decision

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) Expressed Disappointment At The Denial, But Noted That The Accelerated Approval Was Part Of A Bipartisan Decision. “U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement in response to the President’s decision to deny a permit for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which Tester supports: ‘I am disappointed in the President’s decision. Just as I have supported Montana’s renewable energy jobs, I have long supported responsibly building this pipeline with the highest safety standards and with respect for private property rights. Oil, coal, natural gas, wind, geothermal and biofuels all provide good jobs in Montana. I will continue to champion Montana’s role in securing America’s energy future.’ Today’s announcement resulted from a bipartisan agreement in December that forced a quicker decision on the pipeline.” (Sen. Jon Tester, “Tester Statement On Denial Of Keystone XL Pipeline Permit,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

  • TESTER: “I Am Disappointed In The President’s Decision…I Have Long Supported Responsibly Building This Pipeline With The Highest Safety Standards And With Respect For Private Property Rights.” (Neela Banerjee and Lisa Miscaro, “State Department Denies Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Permit,” Los Angeles Times, 1/19/12)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “President Obama’s Decision On The Keystone XL Pipeline Is A Major Setback For The American Economy, American Workers, And America’s Energy Independence.” (Sen. Joe Manchin, “Manchin Statement On Administration’s Decision To Halt Keystone XL Pipeline,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

  • MANCHIN: “I Truly Believe Any Issues Surrounding The Pipeline Could Have Been Resolved If We Had Chosen To Work Together, But Instead, The Administration Has Taken A Different Path.” (Sen. Joe Manchin, “Manchin Statement On Administration’s Decision To Halt Keystone XL Pipeline,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN): “I Am Very Disappointed That The Obama Administration Will Reject The Permit For The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline. They Are Missing An Opportunity To Create Thousands Of Jobs In America.” (Rep. Joe Donnelly, “Donnelly Statement On Keystone XL Pipeline,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

  • DONNELLY: “I Hope The Obama Administration Will Reconsider This Decision Because Our Nation’s Economy Needs This Boost.” (Rep. Joe Donnelly, “Donnelly Statement On Keystone XL Pipeline,” Press Release, 1/18/12)

Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Called Obama’s Decision On Keystone Wrong And A Mistake. “North Dakota Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp says President Barack Obama made a mistake in blocking the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Heitkamp issued a statement Wednesday calling the Democratic president’s decision ‘the wrong one, plain and simple.’” (“Dem US Senate Candidate Rips Obama On Pipeline,” Associated Press, 1/18/12)

  • “Heitkamp Says The Project Would Create Jobs, Lower The Cost Of Fuel And Decrease The Nation’s Dependence On Oil Imported From Overseas.” (“Dem US Senate Candidate Rips Obama On Pipeline,” Associated Press, 1/18/12)