President Obama’s Absurd Reasons for Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline | U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Nov 06, 2015 - 3:00pm

President Obama’s Absurd Reasons for Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline


Senior Editor, Digital Content

President Obama tossed economics and science out the window and onto the White House lawn when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.

After leaving it in bureaucratic limbo for seven years, the president claimed the project--which would safely transport Canadian and American crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries--would have little economic effect and would hurt U.S. leadership in reducing carbon emissions.

Both claims are bunk, as the State Department’s analysis shows.

Let’s first take up President Obama’s economic argument.

“The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy," President Obama said at a White House event.

The State Department’s analysis disagrees:

  • 42,000 jobs would be created.
  • $3.4 billion would be added to the U.S. economy.
  • $405 million would be earned by workers building the pipeline in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
  • $55 million in property tax revenue would go to local communities.

Not only did President Obama tossed aside the Keystone XL pipeline’s economic benefits, he also ignored the science showing that the project’s environmental effects will be minimal.

"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," President Obama said. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership."

The only thing the Keystone XL pipeline would undercut it America’s reliance on oil from unfriendly countries. It certainly wouldn’t undercut efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

In fact, the State Department found that not building the pipeline would result in higher greenhouse gas emissions, increases ranging anywhere from 28%-42%.

But as Phil Kerpen tweeted, the administration is more concerned about perception than real science.

The truth is, our president--a “science geek” according to his top science advisor--rejected science and instead chose to side with anti-energy opponents of the pipeline.

The reaction to President Obama’s decision was strong and swift.  

“In rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama has put politics before the best interests of the country,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. “Rejecting Keystone breaks two promises the president made—to put jobs and growth first and to seek bipartisan solutions.”

President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute Jack Gerard said: “This decision will cost thousands of jobs and is an assault to American workers. It’s politics at its worst.”

Labor union leaders were beyond disappointed.

Terry O’Sullivan, general president for Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), said President Obama threw “hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus.”

On a press call, Sean McGarvey, president of the North America's Building Trades Unions, called the Keystone XL pipeline, “a victim of the radical environmental movement.” The jobs lost by President Obama’s decision “are real jobs for real people supporting real families.”

Before he flies off to Paris, President Obama should order Air Force One to head west. He himself should visit people living along the pipeline’s route and explain why they can’t have the jobs, the economic growth, and the local tax revenue that would come from the pipeline. As I wrote in 2014:

Bonnie Davidson of the Glasgow Courier said that local residents were scratching their head as to what the controversy is with the pipeline. She told me she hopes that if the Obama administration denies the permit someone should come to Glasgow and tell them why.

Those people deserve to be told why he took those opportunities away from them.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5yv6txklMU[/embed]
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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.