President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that he would not bow to Congressional pressure as he announced that he was rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, the massive project that would have connected Canadian oil sands with refineries in Texas.
The President claimed that the Feb. 21 deadline set by Congress as part of the temporary payroll tax cut extension made it impossible to do an in-depth review of the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada.
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” the President said in a statement.
TransCanada will be allowed to reapply for a permit after it develops an alternative route that bypasses Nebraska’s Sand Hills which many people call too sensitive a habitat to be marred by the pipeline. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said his company will re-apply for a permit to build the pipeline, and will continue its work with officials in Nebraska on an alternative route that avoids the region.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the President is afraid to stand up to his environmentalist base, even if it means breaking his jobs creation promises.
“The President has said he’ll do anything that he can to create jobs. Today that promise was broken. The president expedited the approval of the Solyndra loan project, but won’t approve a project that’s been under review for over three years,” he said during a press conference. “Yesterday, the president’s own Jobs Council said the energy pipeline projects like this one can create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. The unions support it. The states along the proposed route support it. And it has bipartisan support here in the Congress of the United States — and yet the president decided to reject it anyway. The President won’t stand up to his political base even in the name of creating American jobs. And now Canada is going to have to look to other nations like China to sell its oil reserves to.”