Photo: AP Images
The State Department postponed a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline — drawing an endorsement from the White House and criticism from congressional Republicans.The pipeline would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in Oklahoma and Illinois — and has become a lightning rod for environmental groups. The State Department postponed it’s decision until after the 2012 election — providing President Barack Obama with cover on the left, and opening up a new issue in his race for reelection.
The department is particularly concerned that the pipeline passes through the Sand Hills of Nebraska — and the government wants to explore other routes.
Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a statement that “More than 20,000 new American jobs have just been sacrificed in the name of political expediency.”
“By punting on this project, the President has made clear that campaign politics are driving U.S. policy decisions – at the expense of American jobs. The current project has already been deemed environmentally sound, and calling for a new route is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to avoid upsetting the President’s political base before the election. It’s a failure of leadership.”
“The production of American-made energy has a direct link to American job creation. That’s why House Republicans will soon introduce and pass jobs legislation that ties the permanent expansion of American energy production to an increase in new infrastructure projects. Today is another reminder that the President’s energy policy is destroying American jobs while Republicans are focused on using American resources to put people back to work.”
In a statement, Obama expressed support for the decision:I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood. The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people. At the same time, my administration will build on the unprecedented progress we’ve made towards strengthening our nation’s energy security, from responsibly expanding domestic oil and gas production to nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, to continued progress in the development of a clean energy economy.
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