Long-Debated Keystone XL Pipeline Shut Down by President Obama

After hovering for years in political limbo, the long-proposed Keystone XL pipeline, intended to move heavy Canadian crude oil through America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico and ultimately out into the world market, was brought to ground on Nov. 6 by President Obama. After noting that Secretary of State John Kerry had completed the State Department review of the proposal and determined that the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States,” President Obama simply said, “I agree with that decision,” bringing years of political drama to an end.

The president said that the United States is now a global leader in action against climate change. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face—not acting.”

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According to the president, the State Department ultimately rejected Keystone because the pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to the U.S. economy and would not lower U.S. gas prices. He added that “shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security.”

Reacting to the White House call on Keystone, Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, said, “President Obama’s decision...is another sign of the growing awareness that business as usual with regards to fossil fuels is not sustainable.

“As Pope Francis said in ‘Laudato Si’,’’ we need to begin to envision a new future for our children and to begin to reduce our use of fossil fuels.” Mr. Misleh added, “It seems to me that we have to accompany this big and symbolic ‘no’ with an affirmative and actual ‘yes’ on what we can do to not only reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but to invest in and deploy cleaner, more sustainable energy technology and sources.”

Mr. Misleh said that the Catholic community, with its size and resources, “ought to quickly become a leader in this new, exciting and sustainable future...to show our love of the Creator through love of creation.”

In his statement the president said that debate about the Keystone Pipeline “has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse.”

“While our politics have been consumed by a debate over whether or not this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices,” he said, “We’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.” He described the pipeline as a symbol “too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter.”

“And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others,” he said.

Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, described himself and the members of the network as “elated” by the apparent end of the proposed pipeline. He said the decision was long overdue.

“This sends a real strong signal going forward to Paris about [the U.S.] commitment to bring about serious action on climate change.” Carolan was referring to the upcoming U.N. sponsored conference aimed at hashing out national commitments to respond to the various threats of global warming, which begins at the end of November.

Mr. Carolan said that the president’s decision reflects the culmination of six years of grassroots mobilization and coalition building, “groups that you would never think could work together coming together” to resist the pipeline. Remembering scores of demonstrations and hundreds of arrests, he said, “It’s been a long battle.”

Mr. Carolan recalled the mockery endured by activists standing against Keystone’s formidable alliance of industry and political interests in the early days fighting against the project. “People said resistance was a waste of time, that this was a done deal, that there was no way we could stop it. This just goes to show you that—with coalition building, coming together, taking it out onto the streets—things can happen, things can change.”

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Alex Finta
1 year 11 months ago
I fail to understand why Messrs. Misleh and Carolan are celebrating Obama's decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, a Pyrrhic victory if ever there was one. The inevitable conclusion must be that Misleh and Carolan, along with Bill McKibben (chief of 350.org) are badly informed. Perhaps some information will help. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Canada is the major source of crude oil imported into the US, about 120 K barrels monthly, vs. about 85 K barrels from OPEC. Over the last decade, “U.S. imports of crude oil and other liquids from Canada have increased 58%.” (http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm) Obama's claim that getting more crude from Canada wouldn't increase our energy security is simply a lie. Why do Catholics continue to believe this guy? Wasn't “you can keep your doctor” - repeated 25 times – enough warning? Even more preposterous, most of Canada's oil exports come into the US by rail, which is costlier than pipeline and creates more CO2 emissions. There are also increased risks of oil spills and rail accidents. This not a victory for the environment. It's a windfall profit for Obama's friend, Warren Buffet, however. And, as in most Obama actions, some damage is done to the economy, in the form of lost construction jobs. All this for the sake of Obama's “global leadership in action against climate change.” This is another lie from Obama that Misleh and Carolan seem determined to believe, though there has been no increase of severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods) or of global warming in the last 18 years. According to Reuters news agency, there are 500 coal-fired electricity generating stations under construction now, and 1000 more in planning. If CO2 really will lead to a dangerous climate change – as Misleh and Carolan and Pope Francis apparently believe – then danger lies ahead, and the pipeline decision will have no effect.If CO2 has no discernible effect on climate, as evidence from satellite measurements tells us, the pipeline decision will have no effect. What have Obama, Misleh, and Carolan accomplished? America again has published a silly article based on lies by a congenital liar and foolish enthusiasm by people ignorant of science.

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