The Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline has been heralded by environmentalists as a major win, but the president spoke mainly to the economic considerations that led to the decision.
Barack Obama spoke at the White House Friday, shortly after news outlets broke the story that he was set to kill the pipeline.
Political wrangling over the pipeline occupied “what I frankly consider an overinflated role” in the national discourse for years, Obama said. The project would neither be a panacea for the economy nor an environmental disaster if it went forward.
Obama cited three main drivers for his administration’s rejection of the project: It would not make a meaningful longterm contribution to the economy; it would not lower gas prices for U.S. consumers; and it would not increase energy security for the country.
Although those were the reasons the president gave for denying the pipeline proposal, Obama did not pass up the opportunity to talk the good talk on the environment.
“America is leading on climate change,” he said, three times, giving an example in each case. “Approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
He mentioned the upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris, and indicated America’s intention to take serious action and lead by example.
“America is prepared to show the world the way forward.”