Obama administration rejects Keystone XL pipeline project

President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project today in an announcement at the White House. File photo: Reuters

President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project today in an announcement at the White House. File photo: Reuters

Today President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made it official. TransCanada’s 2,639-mile long Keystone XL project will not be permitted to build and operate on U.S. soil a multi-billion dollar pipeline. It was rejected because President Obama said the pipeline:

  • would not make a meaningful contribution to America’s economic recovery
  •  would not lower gas prices for American consumers
  • shipping dirty crude oil into America will not increase the country’s energy security, reverse the negative impact of climate change, or contribute to clean energy development
  • approving the project will undercut global leadership in the fight to reverse the worst effects of climate change around the world

The pipeline was slated to move 700,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta in Canada across America’s heartland and on to oil refineries on America’s Gulf Coast. After years of “over inflated” political debate the pipeline project has been rejected. Stay tuned- I’m curious to see what legal or other political maneuvers will seek to reverse today’s decision.

08pipeline-map-popupPersonally, I’m happy to hear the news. I’ve never believed there was a good reason to build the pipeline. Supporters claimed it would create jobs, give the U.S. more energy independence and security, and serve as a hedge against rising global oil prices.

Opponents say the costs will be  the pipeline’s “dirty” extraction process, human health problems, permanent damage to Canada’s forests and a pollution threat to places like Nebraska’s Sand Hills country and the Ogallala fresh water aquifer.

Over the past three years I’ve blogged my own views about the controversial pipeline.

Four years ago, I wrote this about the Obama administrations review of the pipeline proposal.

The real story: The Keystone XL pipeline is a litmus test of President Obama and our political leadership’s resolve to make a true commitment to alternative energy in America and ween ourselves from foreign energy reliance? It’s also a test of the American consumers’ ability to consume less energy and create less waste.

Dust hangs in the sunset sky above the Suncor Millennium mine, an open-pit north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Canada's oil sands are layers of sticky, tarlike bitumen mixed with sand, clay, and water. Around a hundred feet of soil must be stripped off to reach many deposits. Photo: Peter Essick, National Geographic

Dust hangs in the sunset sky above the Suncor Millennium mine, an open-pit north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Canada’s oil sands are layers of sticky, tarlike bitumen mixed with sand, clay, and water. Around a hundred feet of soil must be stripped off to reach many deposits. Photo: Peter Essick, National Geographic

And it has been in 2015. My thoughts on the project today, after the Obama administration and U.S. State Department’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline? They are stil the same as when I wrote this four years ago:

What is the state of our nation’s political accountability and transparency? Can we create sustainable energy policies that support our economy and democracy while, at the same time, provide America greater control of its destiny? These are real questions. The decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project will tell us if the Obama administration is truly willing to act in the best interests of our country and set us on a new course of self-reliance and energy sustainability.

What are your thoughts on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal? I’d like to know.

Here’s more on the Keystone XL pipelines chronology leading up to today’s rejection of the project by the U.S. State Department and Obama administration.
//storify.com/barneymccoy/the-keystone-xl-pipleine-a-chronology.js?border=false[View the story “The Keystone XL Pipleine: A chronology” on Storify]

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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