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Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska, in this file photo taken March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Lane Hickenbottom

President Obama on Friday rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, a victory for environmentalists who believed the project would increase dependency on oil.

The decision comes roughly four weeks ahead of major international climate talks in Paris. Environmentalists urged the Obama administration to reject Keystone before the United Nations Climate Change Conference as a way to symbolically affirm the United States’ desire to reduce carbon emissions.

[Obama rejects Keystone XL project, citing climate concerns]

Earlier in the week, the State Department said it would not pause its review of the pipeline proposal, despite a request from TransCanada, the project’s sponsor. The decision was seen as paving the way for Obama to reject Keystone rather than let the issue linger. Supporters of the pipeline now must wait until 2016 to see whether the new president-elect supports the project. Republican presidential candidates favor the pipeline’s approval. Hillary Clinton, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposes it.

“Now for years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider and 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,” Obama said at the White House. “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.”

[Full text: President Obama’s remarks on the Keystone XL pipeline]

The Post’s Juliet Eilperin has the story:

The decision to deny TransCanada Corp. a cross-border permit for a 1,179-mile pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Neb. puts an end — at least for now — to a seven-year fight over a project that came to symbolize what Obama could do unilaterally to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

On Wednesday the State Department rejected TransCanada’s request to suspend its review of the pipeline until the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved a revised route through the state. The completed pipeline would move roughly 830,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.