Obama rejects Canada-US Keystone XL pipeline

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Barack Obama (center) joined by Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry during statement rejecting Keystone XL pipeline.

US President Barack Obama has announced the rejection of Canada-US Keystone XL pipeline in a televised address from the White House.

"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,” Obama said on Friday, standing with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. 

He said the plan "would not serve the national interests of the United States," doing nothing to build "meaningful, long-term" economic growth or help the environment.

"The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. In fact, gas prices have already been falling steadily," he said.

"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," Obama said.

"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," he stated.

The Keystone XL pipeline is part of an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States that was commissioned in 2010.

It runs from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and also to oil tank farms and oil pipeline distribution centers in Oklahoma.

Various environmental groups, citizens, and politicians have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of the oil pipeline, mainly the risk of oil spills along the pipeline’s route.

Demonstrators hold signs against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. (AFP photo)

The rejection of Keystone delivers huge victory to environmental groups, and a crushing defeat to Republicans, who had championed the pipeline as a jobs creator.

The US president said on Friday that he will join world leaders in Paris next month at an international climate change summit in an effort to curb the man-made causes of global warming.

“We want to prevent the worst effects of climate change and the time to act is now,” Obama said. “I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together."

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