News / USA

Obama Administration Denies Permit for Oil Pipeline from Canada

The Obama administration on Wednesday denied a permit for a new oil pipeline from Canada because it says congressional Republicans did not give the administration enough time to determine the project's impact on public safety and the environment.  The president's political opponents say the move shows he is not serious about creating jobs.

The State Department recommended that President Obama reject the application for a new crude oil pipeline from Canada's tar sands region to Texas refineries because of concerns about the proposed route through areas of the state of Nebraska that State Department officials say they did not have sufficient time to consider.

In a written statement from the White House, President Obama said the decision is not a judgment on the merits of the proposed pipeline.  It is on what the president called the “arbitrary nature” of a 60-day deadline imposed by congressional Republicans.  Mr. Obama says that deadline prevents a full assessment of the environmental, health and safety impact of the more-than-2,700-kilometer project.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the congressional deadline left the Obama administration no choice but to deny the pipeline application. "Sixty days is simply not enough time," he said.  "We don't even have an alternate route identified yet, so how could anyone possibly review it thoroughly, in the manner that is expected in this process?"

House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner said the president was authorized to block the project only if he believed it was not in the country's national interest.  Speaking on Capitol Hill, Boehner asked, “Is it not in the national interest to create tens of thousands of jobs here in America with private investment?”

"Is it not in the national interest to get energy resources from an ally like Canada as opposed to some countries in the Middle East?  The president had said he will do anything that he can to create jobs.  Today that promise was broken," he said.

Boehner said the decision shows the president is more concerned about politics than about creating jobs because approving the plan might have alienated Mr. Obama's supporters in U.S. environmental groups.   "The president won't stand up to his political base, even in the name of creating American jobs.  And now, Canada is going to have to look to other nations, like China, to sell its oil reserves to.  Listen, the president's policies are making the American economy worse, rather than better," he said.

Boehner said Republicans in Congress will continue to push for the pipeline because it is good for the economy and it is good for Americans, especially those who are looking for work.  It is also good for the president's political opponents in an election year, when the economy is the to priority for most voters.

The leading Republican presidential contender, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, issued a written statement saying that the president's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline is “as shocking as it is revealing.”  Romney said Mr. Obama has “once again put politics ahead of sound policy” and is demonstrating what the presidential hopeful called “a lack of seriousness about bringing down unemployment, restoring economic growth, and achieving energy independence.”

The State Department says its denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.

Kerri-Ann Jones is an Assistant Secretary in the State Department Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.  In a telephone conference call with reporters, Jones said the decision was based not on politics, but on concerns expressed last November that officials needed more time to gather more information about the project. "This is a process decision that we made based on the decision that we made on November 10 and the information that we felt we needed to really inform our decision to make sure we really had everything we needed to do the best in terms of looking at this pipeline and determining whether or not it was in the national interest," she said.

Asked what part energy independence plays in determining the national interest of pipeline projects, Jones said the Obama administration is working to reduce reliance on foreign oil. "This decision today doesn't make our commitment to energy independence and energy security any less of a priority.  It is a major priority for our country.  We are making this decision because [in] the process, we did not have the information we need to make the decision that we thought would be well informed," she said.

Pipeline applicant TransCanada is considering another proposal that would reroute the pipeline around aquifers in Nebraska's Sandhills region.  Jones said she could not give a timeline for how long a review of a new application might take.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs