The Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline has been in limbo for almost seven years—until today. In an unfortunate yet expected turn of events, President Obama formally rejected the project. Some of those eternal optimists out there who tirelessly advocated in favor of the pipeline perhaps thought this day would never come, as things were looking up earlier this year.
In January, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued their long-awaited ruling which overturned a lower court ruling that struck down a proposed route for KXL through the state. This ruling potentially cleared the way for construction of the controversial project.
The State Department has conducted multiple environmental reviews over the years—with the most recent study revealing yet again that the pipeline is not only safe, but would have limited environmental impacts.
Congress’ first order of business this year was to pass legislation that would approve KXL rather than rely on a Presidential Permit. Lawmakers did so with strong bipartisan support. However, Congress was stonewalled when President Obama vetoed the bill on February 24.
How could a president, who claims to be a proponent of energy independence and ready-to-go critical infrastructure projects not give KXL the green light?
Rejecting KXL means that measures to further strengthen the United States’ economic security and energy independence are put at a disadvantage. Approximately 42,100 jobs are lost and $3.4 billion will not be added to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The United States will continue to import crude from unstable foreign sources—which is currently the norm. At a time when our country is experiencing an energy renaissance, we should embrace those resources that would do us the most good.
Like a noble protagonist in a Shakespearean or Greek tragedy, KXL has met an unfortunate end. And, while Canada can always reapply to the State Department, no doubt the United States’ relationship with our northern neighbor and ally has been tarnished. How could it not be?
President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is truly an American tragedy of his own making. This decision was based purely on politics rather than on economic and environmental evidence, and most importantly, common sense.