The move is ”as shocking as it is revealing.”
“It shows a President who once again has put politics ahead of sound policy,” the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential frontrunner said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin.”
In announcing the decision, President Obama said the government did not have enough time to review the oil pipeline, which would have crossed the United States from Canada to Texas. The administration will allow builder TransCanada to reapply for a permit after it alters the route to sidestep Nebraska’s Sandhills.
Romney echoed congressional Republican criticism by charging that the move to deny the pipeline permit was based on political rather than policy calculations.
“By declaring that the Keystone pipeline is not in the ‘national interest,’ the president demonstrates a lack of seriousness about bringing down unemployment, restoring economic growth, and achieving energy independence,” Romney said. “He seems to have confused the national interest with his own interest in pleasing the environmentalists in his political base.”
Industry lobbying groups and environmentalists are battling over the pipeline. There are many misconceptions about its impact both on domestic energy prices and the environment. As Michael Levi wrote:
Is the decision a boon for the environment or a slap at an already weak economy? Let’s separate fact from fiction.
1. The pipeline would have been catastrophic for global climate change.
For opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, the issue was one of simple math: The project would have facilitated increased production of Canadian oil sands, and a gallon of gasoline derived from oil sands produces 5 to 15 percent greater greenhouse gas emissions than a gallon of gasoline made from a typical barrel of conventional oil. Also, they noted, Canada’s oil sands are the second-largest petroleum deposit in the world, and if burned completely, it would have been “game over” for the planet’s fight against climate change, in the words of NASA scientist James Hansen, a leading climate specialist.
That is all technically true — but it misses the point. The additional emissions generated by replacing conventional oil with the crude that the pipeline could have carried would have been no more than a small fraction of 1 percent of total annual U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. Meanwhile, it would take more than 1,000 years to burn all the oil sands, even if extraction were ramped up threefold from its current pace. The fate of the climate will be determined long before that.