ABOVE: Natural Resources Minister ‘disappointed’ with Obama’s decision to veto Keystone
CALGARY — President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and reaction was swift and divided.
First proposed in 2008, the pipeline, if approved, would connect Canada’s oilsands to Gulf Coast refineries. Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. is the pipeline project’s developer.
Here are some reaction statements from politicians and environmental groups on both sides of the border.
“Today’s Keystone veto should be a wake-up call to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and provincial premiers that climate action is incompatible with tar sands and pipeline expansion,” said Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. “We need leaders who understand the urgency of the crisis we face and are willing to take action to address it. President Obama has taken one of those steps, now we need our Canadian leaders to follow.”
“I am disappointed but not surprised that President Obama chose to veto bipartisan legislation that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Alberta Premier Jim Prentice. “While today’s decision was expected, it does not change the fact that Keystone XL would advance North American energy security and prosperity while offering the U.S. access to responsibly developed energy from a close ally and friend.
“Our commitment to responsible energy development is steadfast, and our environmental standards are much greater than those of other countries that send their oil to the U.S. market every day. Alberta is the only major supplier of oil to the U.S. with a price on carbon.
“Canadian and American producers have long adjusted their plans and have been successful delivering additional barrels to the U.S. market through other pipelines and rail options. As a result, our crude exports to the U.S. are forecast to increase this year. The debate will continue and, just as I did during my recent visit to Washington, I will continue to communicate Alberta’s record as a safe, secure and reliable energy supplier, and our strong support for Keystone XL and for all infrastructure projects that advance North America’s energy interests.”
“This is not a debate between Canada and the US; it’s a debate between the President and the American people, who are supportive of the project,” said Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “It is not a question of if this project will be approved; it is a matter of when. We will continue to strongly advocate for this job creating project. Keystone XL will create jobs for Canadian and American workers and strengthen energy security in North America. The State Department itself has indicated it can be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
“This misguided Keystone XL bill, pushed by the fossil fuel industry, has met its just and expected doom,” said president of the American Natural Resources Defense Council Rhea Suh. “The president got it exactly right by vetoing it.
“Congress should stop wasting any more time pushing dirty energy projects that would worsen climate change and threaten our air, water and land.
“Instead, lawmakers should work to promote renewable wind and solar power, and reduce waste through energy efficiency measures that will save consumers money, improve the economy and combat dangerous climate change. And the president should move quickly to reject the proposed tar sands pipeline once and for all. It is simply not in the national interest.”
“The president’s veto of our Keystone XL pipeline approval legislation is not surprising, but it is unfortunate as his veto stands in contradiction to the will of the American people,” said North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. “This bill has passed both chambers of Congress and the American public has expressed its support for the project in poll after poll. Every state along the pipeline’s route has approved the project, and a series of environmental reviews completed over the course of six years have all concluded that the project will have no significant environmental impact. Yet, the president vetoed the bill because it ‘cut short’ his review process, which has already gone more than six years.”
TransCanada said it remains fully committed to Keystone XL despite Tuesday’s veto of bipartisan legislation in support of the project. “Without Keystone XL, U.S. refineries are forced to use other methods of transportation to get the oil they need for creating products we all rely on every day,” said president and CEO Russ Girling. “This means higher GHG emissions and relying on methods of transportation that are not as safe or as efficient as pipelines.”
With a file from The Associated Press