[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKuag05wlKg]The Obama administration today formally rejected a bid by Canadian energy company TransCanada to build a $7 billion oil pipeline linking the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.
The Keystone XL project, which was estimated to create thousands of U.S. jobs, became an election-year lightning rod, embroiling President Obama, congressional Republicans, labor unions and interest groups in a heated debate over jobs and the environment.
The State Department, which holds the authority to approve or reject pipelines that cross an international boundary, said in November that it would delay a decision on Keystone to allow for further study of the environmental impact along its 1,700-mile route.
Then in December, Congress tried to force the president to make a decision proposal within two months, tucking the mandate into the payroll tax cut bill that Obama ultimately signed into law.
But the president said today in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline’s route through six states.
“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,” Obama said.
“As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
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