US rejects controversial Keystone XL pipeline
The US state department has denied a permit for the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline, that once constructed would transport dirty and climate killing tar sands from Canada to the US and other world markets. One of the worldâ€™s most prominent climate scientists, James Hansen has said that if the Canadian tar sands would be exploited as projected it would be "game over for the climate".
But this rejection from the US state department is only a temporary setback for TransCanada, the developer, and not a definite "no" to the pipeline. As a result of a legislative standoff in 2011, where Republicans forced a final decision-deadline on the pipeline plan within 60 days, the state department didnâ€™t have the time to do a full and proper investigation. And thus the Keystone XL pipeline was rejected by the state department.
President Barack Obama acknowledges this and blames the denied permit on the Republicans. According to Obama the rejection by the state department â€œis not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadlineâ€:
TransCanada has announced that they are â€œdisappointedâ€ by the outcome but that they are still â€œfully committedâ€ to the Keystone XL pipeline project:
Several Republicans have criticized Obama for the rejection of the pipeline. Mitt Romney, one of the front-runners in the 2012 Republican primary, have said the decision shows a "lack of seriousness" when it comes to bringing down unemployment in the US. "President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs," a spokesman for Republican house speaker John Boehner said. And Republicans in Congress have proclaimed that they will try and put forward new legislation to push the Keystone XL pipeline project forward, the Guardian reports.
But itâ€™s interesting to note that the US state department concluded in their report that the Keystone XL pipeline â€œis unlikely to have a substantial impact on U.S. employmentâ€ levels. The report also concludes that the pipeline would make little difference to economic activity, trade, energy security, or foreign policy over the longer term in the US. According to the report only around â€œ5,000 to 6,000 direct construction jobsâ€ would be created because of the Keystone XL pipeline. And these jobs â€œwould last for the two years that it would take to build the pipelineâ€.
So we can now be sure on a couple of things. The Keystone XL pipeline has only been temporary stopped. TransCanada will re-apply, and most likely they will get their permit a couple of months after the presidential election. Barack Obama doesnâ€™t acknowledge the dangerous effects the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands will have on our environment and climate. He would gladly approve the pipeline project today, if that was possible. If constructed, the Keystone XL pipeline will only create a few thousands temporary jobs and it will not help the US reach energy independence or energy security. And if the tar sands are exploited, it would only result in the destruction of our climate.