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Obama rejects plan for Canada-Texas pipeline

by Candice Miller on January 19, 2012

He cites time constraints to review impact of oil project; proponents call decision political
BY CHRISTINE TIERNEY / THE DETROIT NEWS
http://www.detroitnews.com/print/article/20120119/NATION/201190395/Obama-rejects-plan-Canada-Texas-pipeline
Washington — President Barack Obama rejected an application Wednesday for a controversial oil pipeline because the Feb. 21 deadline demanded by congressional Republicans didn’t provide time for a thorough review.
 
Obama had agreed late last year to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days as part of eleventh-hour negotiations to pass a temporary payroll tax extension.
 
Obama’s decision infuriated Republicans, setting the stage for another round of hard bargaining to extend the cuts in Social Security payroll taxes beyond February.
 
Republicans said the $7 billion pipeline project would have created thousands of jobs and reduced U.S. reliance on oil from outside North America.
 
The State Department had been studying whether the pipeline, stretching from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, would serve the national interest. It was also studying its environmental impact.
 
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline,” Obama said.
 
“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,” he 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.”
 
Rep. Dave Camp, R- Midland and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, questioned whether the deadline was the issue.
 
“For more than three years, President Obama has delayed approval of this project, which is supported by both employers and unions,” Camp said. “With today’s announcement, it has once again become clear the president is more concerned with appeasing Washington advocacy groups than growing America’s stagnant economy.”
 
The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas.
 
“I find it so unfortunate that with the creation of new jobs being the No. 1 issue facing this nation and with Americans paying well over $3 per gallon at the pump, that President Obama has rejected permitting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township.
 
“This pipeline would create approximately 20,000 jobs immediately — jobs which would be created by the private sector at zero cost to the taxpayers — as well as improve the energy security of our nation,” she said.
 
According to the Associated Press, TransCanada Corp. has said the project could create as many as 20,000 jobs over two years; other experts say that figure is inflated.
 
A State Department report last summer said the pipeline would create up to 6,000 jobs during construction.

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