Politicians, groups react harshly to Keystone news

Politicians and energy and environmental groups reacted quickly to the news that the Obama administration may formally reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Here are a few of the comments:

“This outcome is one of the scenarios we anticipated. While we are disappointed, TransCanada remains fully committed to the construction of Keystone XL. Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project.” “We will re-apply for a Presidential Permit and expect a new application would be processed in an expedited manner to allow for an in-service date of late 2014.” — Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer.

“Today President Obama made a courageous decision that says that special interests will not decide our clean energy future. They [Republicans] want to write a blank check to a big foreign oil company at the expense of American families who face serious public health risks should the construction and operation of the Keystone pipeline move forward.” – Daniel J. Weiss, the director of Climate Strategy at the Center of American Progress

“President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese. The President won’t stand up to his political base even to create American jobs. This is not the end of this fight,” — Brendan Buck, Speaker John Boehner spokesman.

Stephanie Cutter, a former White House adviser, said in an appearance on MSNBC today that Republicans invited the rejection by “playing politics” with the pipeline decision.

“The President has said he wakes up every morning thinking about jobs, but a decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline will do nothing but extend the jobs crisis and send thousands of U.S. jobs and valuable oil overseas. It’s a terrible example of election-year politics where the American people are collateral damage.” — John Cornyn, R-TX

“Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.” — Bill McKibben, an environmentalist who helped organize Keystone XL opposition.

“I called for a complete environmental assessment of the Keystone pipeline and wrote a letter to that effect, but I also understand that oil and energy are the lifeblood of this region and we want to support efforts to bring jobs to Houston. I’m going to be in Washington.  I look forward to hearing exactly what the president plans, if he’s just asking for more information or he’s killed the pipeline, I don’t know.” — Houston

“The president has taken a stand against the oil industry and its paid campaign of lies about jobs and energy security. This is the president’s opportunity to start to end the tyranny of oil and start moving toward a new energy economy that protects the climate, creates jobs and respects the health of our families. Another oil pipeline is simply not a fix for America’s energy needs. Clean energy is what will give us real relief from rising gas prices, bring security and build long-lasting good jobs.” — Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen’s Energy Program director.

“We are strongly disappointed with President Obama’s decision to withhold approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project. There is no excuse that this Administration can provide that justifies the delay. The U.S. government has been reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline since 2008. Delay-delay-delay is keeping 20,000 workers from a paycheck. The President’s decision today will threaten the loss of these potential new jobs and leave us dependent on foreign oil supply. Indecision does not solve our country’s unemployment problem.” — Industrial Energy Consumers of America

“President Obama will stand up to Big Oil’s latest attack on our health and environment by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. While Congressional Republicans work tirelessly for Big Oil, President Obama is taking concrete steps to reduce our dependence on oil and to build a cleaner, healthier future for American families. The pipeline would have been a disaster for our climate, the quality of the air we breathe, and critical water resources across our country. It would have deepened our dependence on dirty oil from Canada’s tar sands, producing catastrophic levels of global warming pollution.” — Luke Metzger, Environment Texas director.

“Today’s decision is puzzling and troubling, especially in light of President Obama’s new energy strategy announced yesterday. The administration says it wants to enhance energy security and create jobs, in part by speeding permitting of new pipelines, while rejecting a prime opportunity to do so. As the President moves ahead with an ‘all in’ energy strategy, as recommended by his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, we hope production and infrastructure have a meaningful role.” — Cal Dooley, American Chemistry Council President and CEO.

“He made the right decision. This is a big decision and it’s important. And it’s the right decision. The jobs claims have been clearly exaggerated. This wasn’t good for the American people. Jobs are important and so is the quality of the air and the water. We have to be aware that clean water and air is an investment.” — Democrat Dennis Kucinich on MSNBC today.

“From an economic standpoint and America’s energy security, this decision makes no sense.The Obama economy continues to struggle and millions of Americans continue to look for work. Why is he turning down jobs in energy, reliably produced in our backyard? For three years, the administration has dithered, as this project has been studied to death and every opposition to it answered to the satisfaction of experts. This is — at best — a short-sighted decision, and at worst — the kind of crass political pandering that turns so many people off on politics and virtually everything that comes out of Washington.” — Rep. Kevin Brady.

“There is not a project more shovel ready than the Keystone Pipeline. By rejecting the Keystone Pipeline, the President put special interests and politics before job creation. 20,000 people who could have started work immediately now question how they will support their families. That oil is not staying in the ground; Canada will find another market for their 2 trillion barrels of oil reserves. This decision represents everything wrong with the current administration and Washington. The President won’t even listen to his job’s council – a council that he created for advice on job creation – they urged for an expansion of oil and gas exploration and a fast tract of projects like the Keystone Pipeline. This President is clueless and Americans are suffering for his folly.” — Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold.

“The Keystone XL project has XL in its name because it is XL-extra large economically. It will make us less dependent on foreign oil and improve our energy security while creating domestic economic opportunity. This is the largest infrastructure project on the books right now in the US. For Texas, it means thousands and thousands of real jobs and $41 million in state revenue.” — Elizabeth Ames Jones, Railroad Commission chairwoman.

“This troubling decision is the latest example of the administration elevating bad politics over good policy. Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline will not prevent the oil sands from being developed, nor will it decrease America’s consumption of fossil fuels. What it will do is guarantee continuing unemployment for tens of thousands of American construction, manufacturing, transportation, and refinery workers — and ensure the energy flows to China, undermining our energy security. I will continue to look for ways in which Congress can work to keep the Keystone pipeline as an option for America to go to work and lower energy costs by increasing supply.” — Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-TX.

“With today’s decision to deny the Keystone pipeline, President Obama is denying new jobs and affordable energy for Americans. His action blocks thousands of jobs that could flow through the U.S. as a result of the pipeline and its construction. Contending that he hasn’t had enough time to make a decision is very disputable, to say the least. The fact of the matter is that the State Department has already conducted an exhaustive, three-year environmental review and concluded that the project would pose minimal environmental risk. Rather than taking responsibility, President Obama is pointing the finger of blame at others for rushing him.” — Heritage energy policy analyst Nick Loris.