Washington (CNN) - Why did the Obama administration announce the Keystone XL pipeline decision Wednesday? Why not.
It was already a foregone conclusion that they were going to deny the permit, according to multiple Democratic sources. They had made clear they couldn't approve it within the 60 day deadline set by Congress. With the State of the Union looming next week, this allowed them an opportunity to address the controversy and move on.
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Republicans have argued it is politically damaging for the President to be seen as opposing the pipeline and the jobs and oil it could bring into the United States. The president's team said they believe he already took the political heat over Keystone when he announced in November that he'd delay the decision to approve it until 2013 and Wednesday's announcement doesn't cause additional political damage, according to the Democratic sources.
Read about Wednesday's Keystone XL announcement HERE.
Additionally, these Democrats said they considered the following before making the decision public: gas prices won't rise as a result of this decision; for months young people on college campuses have held rallies objecting to the pipeline, which is an important constituency for the president in an election year; and some communities along the pipeline's route have also rallied against it in red states as well as blue.
As for jobs, Democrats both inside and outside the administration said the number of jobs that would be created by the pipeline is a moving target. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, argues it would create 20,000 jobs.
The State Department puts the number at 5,000-6,000. And a study by Cornell University says it's closer to 2,500 to just over 4,500 jobs.
Then there's this: Daniel Weiss, an expert with the progressive Center for American Progress crunched the numbers from the Bureau of Labor statistics and points out, under President Obama 40,000 jobs have been created in oil and gas extraction and 66,000 in the oil and gas industry overall.
The American Petroleum Institute, a major trade organization representing the oil and gas industry, doesn't dispute those numbers, but they point out that if the pipeline were built – the US would have many more energy jobs.