API rips Obama administration’s decision to reject Keystone XL

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard blasted President Barack Obama’s decision to formally reject the Keystone XL pipeline, calling it a “clear lack of leadership.”

The Obama administration announced today that it would formally reject the 1,700-mile pipeline that would connect the oil sands fields in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Port Arthur, Texas
Gerard said politics impacted Obama’s decision on the pipeline’s approval, and the API would explore all legislative and legal avenues, including a possible lawsuit, to get the pipeline built.

The vast majority of Americans see this as an opportunity to restart our economy and get it back on track,” Gerard said during a conference call today. “These are serious national decisions that shouldn’t be made on political whims. The president has fallen victim to a small group that is anti-oil and gas.”

Gerard said the API, which represents more than 400 oil and natural gas companies, was waiting to hear Obama’s exact reason for rejecting the pipeline before moving forward.

He said there is strong bipartisan support for the pipeline in Congress, and the energy group could work with politicians to find an avenue to get the pipeline permit approved.

“There is clearly bipartisan support for this pipeline, but whether you can get through the political hurdles is another thing,” he said. “Republican and Democrats recognize that the president missed an easy decision.”

The Washington Post reported the Obama administration had elected to reject the pipeline because a 60-day deadline pushed by Republicans didn’t give the administration enough time to study alternate routes around a critical aquifer in Nebraska.

Gerard said time wasn’t an issue.

“The president decision says that three years is not enough time,” he said. “It is a clear lack of leadership.”

He added that the group isn’t convinced the Obama administration would decided differently with more time.

“We have no confidence that he would say yes to this project,” he said.

TransCanada hasn’t publicly commented on the announcement, but Gerard said the company is clearly disappointed and frustrated by the decision.

Like many other supporters, Gerard said the decision likely wouldn’t be the final curtain on the issue. He said Obama’s decision will likely send shockwaves through the entire election year.

“This issue will not go away,” he said. “It could have political consequences not only for the president but for candidates in the house and senate races.”