Obama Rejects Keystone Pipeline
Texas lawmakers are denouncing President Barack Obama's decision to reject the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline, while environmental groups praised the move as a step toward creating clean energy jobs and decreasing U.S. dependence on oil.
The proposed 1,700-mile pipeline is designed to carry oil from tar sands in Canada south through the center of the country to refineries on the Gulf Coast in the Houston -Beaumont area.
As proposed, the pipeline would come through east Texas across the western edge of Angelina County.
Predictably, reaction to the White House decision is split along partisan and idealogical lines. Texas lawmakers and state officials say Canadian oil would be a significant step toward reducing America's dependence on oil from the Middle East and other countries that are not friendly to the United States.
Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Businesses, says the President’s decision kills the chances of a lot of jobs in this state. "First, you have all the construction jobs lost. You have the fact that the opportunity for the refineries to be humming at full tilt for years to come."
Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman has estimated that the Keystone Pipeline would generate more than $2.3 billion in new spending in Texas alone.
Environmental groups say oil from tar sands is an especially dirty form of raw petroleum that would cause major air pollution in the areas where it is refined into fuel.
Trevor Lovell of Public Citizen says the proposed pipeline route would have endangered public water supplies, especially in East Texas. Lovell says the route would "cross right over the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, it's the third largest aquifer in the state. It supplies water to sixty counties in East Texas."
Republicans say Obama's decision has more to do with election year politics than with real environmental concerns.
Whatever, the President’s decision doesn’t kill the project. Obama says TransCanada is free to find another route and reapply for a permit, and TransCanada says that's what it will do.