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article imageObama administration to reject Keystone XL pipeline

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 18, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The Obama White House is expected to announce on Wednesday its rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which would have delivered Alberta tar sands oil across the Ogallala aquifer to refineries along the Texas Gulf coast.
Faced with a Feb. 21 deadline for making a decision, multiple news reports state the president has forced the Keystone XL issue back into the hands of pipeline supporters. The announcement, expected to come from the State Department, would confirm President Obama’s belief from the outset of the pipeline discussion: accelerating the permitting process cannot be done under current law, especially considering additional environmental reviews are necessary for the proposed route through Nebraska.
“It’s a fallacy to suggest that the president should sign into law something when there isn’t even an alternate route identified in Nebraska and when the review process,” has yet to be completed, said White House spokesman Jay Carney, according to the Chicago Tribune.
House Speaker John Boehner’s office has come out with a rebuke of Obama’s decision. Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman, said in an email statement, “President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs,” the Boston Globe reports.
The pipeline would have carried about 700,000 barrels of crude per day. Republican lawmakers and labor union leaders had urged the president to okay the project
Last November, the Obama administration tried to delay a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 general election, noting more time was needed to study an alternative route away from environmentally sensitive areas, including the Ogallala Aquifer across Nebraska.
However, Congress last month forced his hand by setting a 60-day deadline for issuing a pipeline permit, included in the payroll tax extension legislation.
The expected announcement by the administration will renew the fight over oil production and imports, with proponents of the pipeline insisting it would create at least 20,000 jobs, most of these being temporary construction jobs.
Obama’s move is expected to please environmental groups, but the pleasure could be short-lived, as the Tribune reports the president’s jobs council will urge him to accelerate fossil fuel production at home, “allowing more access to oil, gas and coal opportunities on federal lands.”
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