Obama’s Rejection of Keystone Pipeline Is Good for America

obamaThis morning, President Obama rejected the $7 billion Keystone XL Oil Pipeline project, which would have run an oil pipeline from Canada through the Midwest into the Gulf Coast. Obama has disappointed me time after time over environmental issues, but yesterday he finally gave me a reason to stand up and do an air-punch.

The reason he rejected the project is because Congress wanted him to get the crucial environmental review over and done with in just 60 days -- and even Obama recognizes that that's not long enough for such a huge project. The State Department recommended that he reject the permit for the pipeline, and Obama agreed. Good call, Mr. President!

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Here's Obama's statement on his decision:

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.

For those of us concerned about the environment, this decision comes as huge relief. Never mind what the Tar Sands drilling would do to Canada's arboreal forest. The pipeline could have damaged our own delicate Midwestern grasslands and aquifers. But even if I play devil's advocate and consider that we don't know for certain that the pipeline would cause environmental disaster, just the possibility that it would means we have to take a long, careful look at this proposed project.

Rushing that process is just plain foolish and short-signed, and I'm disgusted with the way Congress has handled the project. Congress sneaked that 60-day deadline into the freaking payroll tax bill in December (the one they tried so hard to kill, remember?). I mean, that's like Jessica Seinfeld sneaking spinach into her kids' brownies. And spinach is actually good for you!

I'm skeptical of the claim that this will kill jobs -- and I doubt it would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They were going to export most of it to foreign markets (i.e. other countries besides America) anyway. And if you want more jobs for America, let's put the focus where it should be: On renewable energy sources. The fight over Keystone isn't over yet -- it could eventually get approved. But if it does, it will come after the kind of thorough environmental review the project needs.

Are you glad President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline project, or do you think it should have been approved?


Image via WhiteHouse.gov

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