President Obama: “We are going to lead by example””

Today, President Obama has announced his decision to not approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline:

President Obama announces that his Administration is rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. November 6, 2015.
President Obama:

This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision. […]

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Transcript: Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Roosevelt Room, 11:58 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Several years ago, the State Department began a review process for the proposed construction of a pipeline that would carry Canadian crude oil through our heartland to ports in the Gulf of Mexico and out into the world market.

This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision.

This morning, I also had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. And while he expressed his disappointment, given Canada’s position on this issue, we both agreed that our close friendship on a whole range of issues, including energy and climate change, should provide the basis for even closer coordination between our countries going forward. And in the coming weeks, senior members of my team will be engaging with theirs in order to help deepen that cooperation.

Now, for years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter. And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.

To illustrate this, let me briefly comment on some of the reasons why the State Department rejected this pipeline.

First: The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it. If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come.

Our businesses created 268,000 new jobs last month. They’ve created 13.5 million new jobs over the past 68 straight months — the longest streak on record. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent. This Congress should pass a serious infrastructure plan, and keep those jobs coming. That would make a difference. The pipeline would not have made a serious impact on those numbers and on the American people’s prospects for the future.

Second: The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. In fact, gas prices have already been falling — steadily. The national average gas price is down about 77 cents over a year ago. It’s down a dollar over two years ago. It’s down $1.27 over three years ago. Today, in 41 states, drivers can find at least one gas station selling gas for less than two bucks a gallon. So while our politics have been consumed by a debate over whether or not this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.

Third: Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security. What has increased America’s energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. Three years ago, I set a goal to cut our oil imports in half by 2020. Between producing more oil here at home, and using less oil throughout our economy, we met that goal last year — five years early. In fact, for the first time in two decades, the United States of America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries.

Now, the truth is, the United States will continue to rely on oil and gas as we transition — as we must transition — to a clean energy economy. That transition will take some time. But it’s also going more quickly than many anticipated. Think about it. Since I took office, we’ve doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas by 2025; tripled the power we generate from the wind; multiplied the power we generate from the sun 20 times over. Our biggest and most successful businesses are going all-in on clean energy. And thanks in part to the investments we’ve made, there are already parts of America where clean power from the wind or the sun is finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.

The point is the old rules said we couldn’t promote economic growth and protect our environment at the same time. The old rules said we couldn’t transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers. But this is America, and we have come up with new ways and new technologies to break down the old rules, so that today, homegrown American energy is booming, energy prices are falling, and over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, America has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

Today, the United States of America is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. America is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe. America is leading on climate change by working with other big emitters like China to encourage and announce new commitments to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. In part because of that American leadership, more than 150 nations representing nearly 90 percent of global emissions have put forward plans to cut pollution.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

As long as I’m President of the United States, America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world. And three weeks from now, I look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in Paris, where we’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.

If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now. Not later. Not someday. Right here, right now. And I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together. I’m optimistic because our own country proves, every day — one step at a time — that not only do we have the power to combat this threat, we can do it while creating new jobs, while growing our economy, while saving money, while helping consumers, and most of all, leaving our kids a cleaner, safer planet at the same time.

That’s what our own ingenuity and action can do. That’s what we can accomplish. And America is prepared to show the rest of the world the way forward.

Thank you very much.

END
12:08 P.M. EST

  10 comments for “President Obama: “We are going to lead by example””

  1. JanF
    November 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    THIS!!!

    … if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

    Thank you, President Obama.

  2. bfitzinAR
    November 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Definitely thanks, President Obama (but am I being “political” for wondering how much Hillary coming out against it pushed him in this direction?)

    • JanF
      November 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      She purposefully avoided making a statement earlier because she was part of the process and felt the need to hold her own counsel. I wonder if she got an inkling of what was going to happen and felt comfortable that she would not be out of bounds stating her position?

      • bfitzinAR
        November 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        Either way is logical. The fact that she held off as long as she could AND warned them before she spoke out says to me that she influenced them rather than the other way around, but that’s just me.

  3. JanF
    November 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Charlie Pierce – “The system worked”:

    ” Our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, continent-spanning death funnel and Republican fetish object, is off the twig. It’s kicked the bucket, rung down the curtain, and joined the bleeding choir invisi-bule. This is a dead parrot.”
    “… from Randy Thompson, whose lovely farm in Humphrey, Nebraska, was targeted by TransCanada as part of the death-funnel’s route, and who worked harder than anyone against the pipeline simply because he was fed up with being pushed around.  “It’s unbelievable that we were able to do this,” Thompson said. “It’s like watching the biggest bully on the school grounds getting his nose bloodied. It’s very gratifying.”

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a39521/keystone-pipeline-rejected/

  4. JanF
    November 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Click the link for tribal nation reactions:

    “Washington D.C. – President Obama has rejected the Keystone XL cross-border application filed by TransCanada to the U.S. State Department. This is a huge victory for the Tribal Nations and communities along its proposed route that have been fighting this dirty tar sands project for the past seven years. This rejection is a sincere affirmation of the struggle to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth and her life blood, the water. The following are response statements by Tribal, grassroots and treaty leaders to President Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL cross-border permit application:”

    http://www.ienearth.org/tribal-grassroots-treaty-leaders-respond-to-president-obama-rejecting-keystone-xl-pipeline/

  5. JanF
    November 7, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Here is the official State Department release from John Kerry:

    After a thorough review of the record, including extensive analysis conducted by the State Department, I have determined that the national interest of the United States would be best served by denying TransCanada a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agrees with this determination and the eight federal agencies consulted under Executive Order 13337 have accepted it.

    Executive Order 13337 delegates to the Secretary of State the President’s authority to issue or deny Presidential Permits like the one sought for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In reaching my decision, I evaluated information provided by TransCanada, the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, the views of other federal agencies, and nearly five million public comments.

    I based this decision on key findings by the State Department, notably:

    – The proposed project has a negligible impact on our energy security.
    – The proposed project would not lead to lower gas prices for American consumers.
    – The proposed project’s long-term contribution to our economy would be marginal.
    – The proposed project raises a range of concerns about the impact on local communities, water supplies, and cultural heritage sites.
    – The proposed project would facilitate transportation into our country of a particularly dirty source of fuel.

    The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combatting climate change.

    More at the link.

  6. JanF
    November 7, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Republican reaction to the demise of their “fetish object” (h/t Charlie Pierce) …

    ‘It Is Sickening’ And Other Outrageous Responses To Obama’s Keystone Decision

      Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls bash Keystone rejection

      Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio vowed to approve the pipeline if he wins the White House. “President Obama’s backward energy policies will come to an end,” he said in a statement.

      Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a White House hopeful, accused Obama of giving in to “radical environmentalists.”

    • Bobby Jindal: “Thousands of high quality energy sector jobs will be left on the altar of Obama’s environmental extremism. #KeystoneXL”
      Yes, all 35 of them … we don’t even need a big altar for that!

    • Paul “D is for Dunce” Ryan: “This decision isn’t surprising but it’s sickening.”
      He said that the pipeline was Congress’ job plan!! Now they have to find something else for those 35 people to do!!!

    • Jeb!: “The Obama Admin’s politically motivated rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a self-inflicted attack on the U.S. economy and jobs.”
      Can Jeb! even speak English? Is grammar and syntax laziness a Bush trait?

    • Mitch McConnell: “Republicans have no intention of giving up on common-sense jobs ideas like #Keystone.”
      Harumph!!

    • JanF
      November 7, 2015 at 7:52 am

      The Republican Senator from North Dakota has a plan:

      It would be difficult for Congress to overturn Obama’s decision. Pipeline supporters would need a veto-proof majority of 67 votes in the Senate, where 63 senators now support it. And they would need 290 votes to overcome a veto in the House. That’s 20 votes more than they got in February when the House approved the project.

      “It think it’s tough,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who said he is working to convince four more senators to support the pipeline. “I think they (the extra votes) are gonna be hard to get.”

      Hoeven said he and other pipeline supporters will look for ways to attach the Keystone project to another bill.

      “We’ll look for an energy bill or something else to attach it to that may be hard for him (Obama) to veto,” Hoeven said. “Eventually, we’ll win this on the merits.”

      Actually, you have already lost it on the merits. Hostage taking, a Republican tradition.

  7. princesspat
    November 7, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Now that Keystone is settled hope focused awareness and actions to protect The Salish Sea will be effective.


    Keystone pipeline rejection means oil tankers could multiply in Strait of Juan de Fuca

    President Obama’s decision Friday to reject the Keystone XL pipeline puts a fresh spotlight on other efforts to bring Canadian crude to market, including a $5.4 billion project to boost oil flows to British Columbia.

    The oil piped from Alberta would be targeted for maritime export, dramatically increasing the number of oil tankers traversing the Strait of Juan de Fuca and raising environmental concerns among Washington state Department of Ecology (DOE) officials.

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