Obama Rejects Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted by Oliver Jenkins

President Barack Obama rejected the plans presented by a major Canadian company to build a 1,700-mile pipeline intended to transport synthetic crude oil through six U.S. states to refineries in Texas. Wednesday’s decision will undoubtedly be met with harsh criticism from Republicans who have supported the project’s development due to a number of beneficial qualities.

Since being proposed by the TransCanada Corporation, a chief North American energy company based in Calgary, the Keystone XL Pipeline has served as a highly controversial issue for the American public.

Overall, the intended Keystone project seeks to expand upon a pipeline system that currently transports crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada and delivers the product to refineries in Oklahoma and Illinois. However, President Obama rejected the company’s proposal to expand this pipeline system to Texas - where more refineries would have the ability to bring greater efficiency to the overall process.

The verdict to halt the pipeline’s expansion has greatly angered Republican leaders, many of whom have already vocalized disappointment in regards to Obama’s decision. The construction of such a plan is guaranteed to generate thousands of temporary jobs and help foster a recovering economy. The XL pipeline also has the ability to cut America’s dependence on foreign oil, especially in the Middle East. Lastly, supporters of the plan understand that China will most likely end up receiving the bulk of TransCanada’s oil if the U.S. chooses not to participate in the project.

A number of prominent Republican leaders discussed several of these aspects following Obama’s announcement yesterday.

Newt Gingrich, campaigning in South Carolina just days before the state’s presidential primary, remarked, “What Obama has done is kill jobs, weaken American security and drive Canada into the arms of China out of sheer stupidity.”

The Republican leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, declared, “Obama is breaking his promise to create jobs. This will not be the end of the fight.”

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, who could likely be squaring off against Obama in this year’s presidential race stated, “This decision shows a President who has put politics ahead of sound policy.”

However, the overall issue is not as clear-cut as it may initially appear. The development of the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline has the potential for serious health and safety issues if proper precautions are not effectively implemented. Leading the charge against this project are green and environmental groups seeking to terminate the construction based on the consequences it could have on natural environments and human populations living in close proximity to the pipeline’s proposed path.

In particular, the greatest controversy has centered around the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast body of water located in the Great Plains region of the U.S. This aquifer covers parts of eight states and provides roughly 30% of America’s ground water used for irrigation. It also provides drinking water to 82% of the people who live within the aquifer’s boundary. However, current plans indicate that the pipeline will cut through the Ogallala Aquifer en route to refineries in Texas. If issues do occur, the resulting effects could be disastrous.

President Obama discussed his disappoint with Republicans in Washington for rushing this process and not properly evaluating the safety hazards associated with this massive project. “As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially on the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”

Although Obama may have rejected this recent proposal, the Keystone XL Pipeline is certainly not a dead subject. The State Department announced TransCanada can still submit a new application once new routes around areas of the Ogallala Aquifer are established. Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive, has stated his company is already in the works to draft plans which minimize the possible safety impacts in this environmentally sensitive region.

Americans can expect to hear more about the highly controversial Keystone XL Pipeline in the months ahead, especially during this year’s presidential debates.





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Posted by Oliver Jenkins on Jan 19 2012. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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