US rejects Keystone XL pipeline, citing combatting climate change as critical factor; Kerry: arguments pro and con “overstated”
On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry issued his determination that “the national interest of the United States would be best served by denying TransCanada a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agrees with this determination and the eight federal agencies consulted under Executive Order 13337 have accepted it.”
The determination by the State Department brings to an end the much delayed, deferred and debated permit process that would have allowed TransCanada to built the fourth phase of its Keystone pipeline system to bring more oil sands crude from Canada to refineries in the US. In response, TransCanada announced it would review all of its options, including filing a new application to receive a Presidential Permit for a cross-border crude oil pipeline from Canada to the United States.
Several days ago, TransCanada had requested suspension of the permit process, a request denied by the US.
Secretary Kerry said that he based the decision on key findings by the State Department, including:
The proposed project has a negligible impact on US energy security.
The proposed project would not lead to lower gasoline prices for American consumers.
The proposed project’s long-term contribution to the US economy would be marginal.
The proposed project raises a range of concerns about the impact on local communities, water supplies, and cultural heritage sites.
The proposed project would facilitate transportation into the US country of a particularly dirty source of fuel.
The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combatting climate change.
I am also convinced that public arguments for and against the pipeline have, to some extent, been overstated. Our analysis makes it clear that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be the economic driver it is heralded to be. On the other hand, while it would facilitate the transportation to the United States of one of the dirtiest sources of fuel on the planet, the proposed project by itself is unlikely to significantly impact the level of crude extraction or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States. The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers—jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed.
… The United States needs to prioritize the development of renewable energy opportunities and continue to transition to the kind of jobs that better utilize our skilled manufacturing base. Clean energy is not just the solution to climate change; it’s also one of the greatest economic opportunities the world has ever seen. If we continue to make smart choices, American businesses and American workers stand to benefit enormously.
… The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves. Denying the Keystone XL pipeline is one of those tough choices – but it is the right decision, for America and the world.—Secretary Kerry