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President Obama, State Department rejects Keystone Pipeline

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WASHINGTON – After years of extensive research, the State Department rejected moving forward with the Keystone Pipeline.

On Friday, President Obama announced that after weighing the pros and cons, the Keystone Pipeline simply isn’t worth it.

Transcanada first applied for State Department approval to build the 1,179 pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska over seven years ago.

According to USA Today, President George W. Bush signed an executive order that would send that application through reviews from various federal agencies.

As the reviews continued, Congress passed a bill that wold have short-circuited that review and approved the pipeline.

However, President Obama vetoed that bill.

The State Department concluded in January the project would create about 42,000 jobs directly and indirectly during the construction phase (indirect: think commercial benefits for restaurants, shops, etc.). That total includes 3,900 construction jobs to actually build the pipeline.

All in all, the pipeline would inject $2 billion in total economic benefits, according to the State Department review.

But once the construction — which would last no more than two years — wraps up, Keystone XL will have created just 50 permanent jobs — the number needed to maintain the pipeline.

Either way, the State Department’s conclusions seriously undercut TransCanada’s claims in 2011 that the project would create about 140,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Obama said the pipeline would not have a serious effect on our economy. Instead, he says Congress should work to pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs as the pipeline and would benefit the country long-term.

The president also said the pipeline wouldn’t lower gas prices, especially since gas prices have already fallen.

“For years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied, frankly what I consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a symbol too often used as a  campaign cudgelled by both parties rather than a serious policy matter. And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others,” President Obama said on Friday.

Immediately, other politicians began speaking out about the announcement.

“President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline is a continuation of the administrations war on fossil fuels. There is no sound reason for the rejection. Five U.S. State Department supplemental environmental impact statements (SEIS) found the project would have ‘minimal environmental impact’. There are over 2.5 million miles of liquid pipelines spread across the U.S. today. The remaining portion of the Keystone XL pipeline would be less than 1,200 miles. The decision today is solely a political decision and not one based on science or with consideration to economic impact. Not only does the rejection of the project affect hard-working Americans, the decision says America does not support responsible growth and development. Bending to the whims of extremists is no way to govern or advance American jobs and industry,” a statement from Amella Karges, the executive vice president for the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association, read.

“It continues to be absolutely mind-boggling that President Obama and his administration will not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s an important driver of economic growth and even President Obama’s State Department says it will create over 42,000 jobs. It will also support North American Energy production, which is good for both our economic security and our national security,” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “Hopefully, future leadership in the White House will reverse this decision and make energy policy based on common sense instead of political pressure from anti-fossil fuel extremists.”