White House to announce opposition to Keystone pipeline project
January 18th, 2012
12:08 PM ET
3 years ago

White House to announce opposition to Keystone pipeline project

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will likely announce its opposition to the controversial Keystone pipeline project as early as today, according to a Democratic source briefed on the matter.

Though House Speaker John Boehner's office has not yet been informed of the White House decision, the Speaker said today, "This is not good for our country. The president wants to put this off until it's convenient for him to make a decision. That means after the next election. The fact is the American people are asking the question right now, "Where are the jobs?"

The proposed Keystone pipeline has been caught up in the Washington political discourse since Republicans inserted a clause in the payroll tax cut negotiations last fall trying to force a decision on the project within a limited time frame. The White House had tried to push the decision until 2013 after the coming presidential election.

The pipeline would run from northern Alberta in Canada down to Texas's Gulf Coast. Republicans and some unions want to push approval through for the project in favor of the job creation prospects. The administration points to environmental reviews still underway and opponents express concerns about the nation's oil dependency being further embraced in regards to not rushing a decision.


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soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. Phil C

    How is not building this pipeline good for the environment. Now the Canadians will sell the oil to the Chinese who will burn all the oil that we were only without all the environmental controls that we have. Wake up people! The Chinese government lies to their own people about the pollution levels and throws people in jail for posting the correct numbers online. Beijing and Shanghai are under a near constant haze of pollution when viewed from space. Not building this pipeline will do more harm to the environment than building it!

    January 18, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. R to the R

    For all of you saying build the refinery i Canada, ship the gas to the US – that would still require a refinery. The whole purpose of this pipeline is to bring supply to the already existing refineries in the Gulf Coast area. It is extremely expensive to build new refineries anywhere and the Gulf Coast has excess capacity. A refinery then either loads product on to ships or puts it back into a pipeline. So regardless, you need a pipeline to buy Canadian Oil – its just a question of whether it is carrying refined or unrefined product. There is a better business plan to utilize existing refining capacity. In fact no new refineries have been built in the US or Canada in 30 years. Oil is used wherever it is delivered along the shortest delivery route. That is why Maine uses Newfoundland oil refined in New Brunswick across the border, California uses Saudi oil brought in from tankers, and British Columbia uses Alaskan oil. Plus each of these would use a variety of sources. Its all about efficiency of delivery.

    This project is being killed largely due to lobbyists from Saudi Arabia who want to maintain their market share in the US. Saudi is also calling for the US to 'deal' with Iran as well. So apparently its better to continue to fight war after war and prop up totaltarian middle east governments in order to maintain campaign contributions. The grand joke is that the US and Canada would be totally self-sufficient in oil if the will was there! instead we are beholden to the middle east, Venezuala etc

    January 18, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Utterly Amazed

    The U.S. Government never ceases to amaze me. It has become totally paralyzed and unable to work for the people; only to protect themselves, their parties and their positions. President Obama has been so disappointing in not living up to the ideals he once portrayed. What happened to democracy and a once great country?

    January 18, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. rosie

    I found this:
    Pipeline Quick Facts

    The Trans Alaska Pipeline System was designed and constructed to move oil from the North Slope of Alaska to the northern most ice-free port in Valdez, Alaska.
    Length: 800 miles.
    Diameter: 48 inches.
    Crosses three mountain ranges and more than 30 major rivers and streams.
    Cost to build: $8 billion in 1977, largest privately funded construction project at that time.
    Construction began March 27, 1975 and was completed May 31, 1977.
    First oil moved through the pipeline on June 20, 1977.
    More than 16 billion barrels have moved through TAPS.
    First tanker to carry crude oil from Valdez: ARCO Juneau, August 1, 1977.
    Tankers loaded at Valdez: 19,625 through April 30, 2008.
    The mission of Alyeska’s Ship Escort Response Vessel System is to safely escort tankers through Prince William Sound.
    Last updated July 8, 2011

    January 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. gt

    sorry welders, truck drivers.steel plants, hotels, resturants workers in the midwest...you just been screw over....

    January 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. 4FreshWater

    1978 was not the last pipeline spill in the US...it was July 2011 when EXXONMobile spilled 42,000 gallons into the flooded Yellowstone river that flooded 40% of the properties along the river. By October 2011, the 1,100 EXXON cleanup crew could still not remove the toxic sludge from people's property. Farmers have been devastated with little chance of recovering that land anytime soon. That was surface water. And it was a MUCH smaller diameter pipe than the proposed Keystone pipeline. Imagine the Keystone pipeline leaking into the fresh water aquafers that supply 8 states in the middle of our country where much of our food is produced as well. By the way, I saw a documentary on the Canada tar sands. The reported ended the documentary by saying (paraphrasing here) "Don't get excited about the US having access to this new oil source. The Chinese have already bought the rights to the oil here in Canada as they are doing in other parts of the world." Thank you, Obama, for doing the right thing.

    January 18, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Endanger the environment while providing jobs for a paltry few? Why not build refineries at the source rather than piping the oil to Texas?

    January 18, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. RickPerryisaLooney

    YAY!!! It's a dirty idea, developed by dirty minds, and dirty people support it.

    January 18, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. skytech5

    If he dose not pass this, he just lost my vote

    January 18, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. knghtshingrmour

    Nobama will never pass on the opportunity to force more once hard working Americans into the government servitude and increase thier voting base. If he were really environmentally concerned he would step in over goods made in other countries where they do far more pollution damage with thier coal fired power plants. It is one planet after all so in the long run it really does not matter where the pollution originates.

    January 18, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. jkINC

    Isn't oil from Canada oil from a foreign country too. Regardless if the battle is between us and China then we need to grab it while it's ours to grab. Sounds like further work is needed on the environmental reports but if the delay is just to complete paperwork rather than to determine a go/no-go then let's get started on the pipe and finish the reports in tandem. Apply the environmental recommendations as we go. Not sure how Obama can risk this, if China gets this franchise it would be political suicide for a second term.

    January 18, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Stan

    They just dropped an extreme amount of oil in the ocean and couldn't figure out how to make it stop and now they would like the opportunity to do it on land. What a joke. The politicians pushing this have the money to move when things go wrong. They take no thought for the everday people who will be affected by a mishap. A job is no good if it is detrimental to your health. But logic seems to be a little scarce these days so the politicians will push and their naive followers will support it and then after talking so much about states rights and the rights of corporations, they will call the national government to help fix it.

    January 18, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    TwM wrote:

    Here are jobs, and not minimum wage jobs being blown off by this inept President. The reason he won't go for it (though originally he was in favor of it) is simple his donators BP OIL told him to veto it. It would cut into their bottom lines. Look it up.
    ------------–
    Those are mostly temporary jobs, and not that many at that. It would take years to complete, and couple of years just to get started. The impact on jobs growth will not even be noticed. Your ridicule of BP is a work of fiction. This pipeline would enable the producers to stop selling their product at a discount because of transportation costs.

    We in the US reap major benefits from the necessity to sell the product at a discount. The pipeline removes the need for the discount, which means our energy costs in the US go up and so does the producer's bottom line. This pipeline will be a cash cow for the Koch Brothers.

    January 18, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. RillyKewl

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!
    Republicans can stick that tar sands filth up their butts!

    January 18, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Binky

    There are already tens of thousands of miles of pipelines in this country, with at least 20 of them going over the aquifer in question. (there are aquifers virtually everywhere) This isn't about ebvironmental safety, this is about the enviro-nazis trying to put us all back into the stone age by killing every possible energy source we have.

    January 18, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. JTH

    Obviously, President Obama knows how this looks (especially during an election year). There are reasons why this project is being opposed by this administration. Besides for the potential for an environmental disaster (rather intentional or unintentional), we need to ask ourselves why is there a necessity to pipe this crude oil 1500 miles to a refinery in Texas, so that is can then be rerouted back to the rest of the country. It is simple to figure out if you follow the money trail. Next, we need to ask ourselves why we have not built a major oil refinery since the last one in Garyville, LA went online in 1976. This commodity is making the rich oil companies richer. They have pushed out smaller oil companies to monopolize this industry long enough. This is not an issue of the executive branch relentlessly preventing the creation of jobs, but a strategic maneuver to stop the five big oil companies from digging their roots deeper into the heart of America. We need to concentrate more on alternative fuels, more innovative engine designs and regulate fuel efficiency standards better. We bailed the big three auto manufacturers out, it time for them to show us (the people of this country) they can now do something for OUR country in return, other than pad their financial portfolio's. We as people of this country need to stop relying on our government to bail everyone out and become more accountable for our own mistakes and learn to move on. A good man once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” (J.F.Kennedy). Maybe we need to look back in time and revisit the idea’s that actually worked.

    January 18, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. ChucK88888

    @susan – "The Republicans would sell their souls to the devil if they thought it could earn them some money."

    Sorry suzy, but the Democrats long ago sold their souls to the devil because they thought it would give them more power to control the American people. Enjoy yourself on Judgement Day! :-)

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Rick

    The environmental studies have been going on for the past 5 years.
    Plus we already have thousands of miles of oil and gas lines running throughout the country, this one is no different.

    It's purely a political move to delay the pipeline until the election is over.
    Once the election is over, the construction will start.

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. R to the R

    If the alternative route is build, sending it to BC to be refined (where there are existing refineries) then the Pacific North West will be awash in oil supplies, meaning that not only will much of it be exported, but that Alaskan supplies will have their prime markets filled with lots of competition (BC currently is Alaska's largest oil customer). Alaskan oil will then likely be exported in larger quantities – with the classic result that Alaska will be extracting oil against environmental wishes, to feel hungry Chinese oil markets!

    This new pipeline, btw, represents only a 1% (yes only one percent!) increase into total miles of pipeline already crisscrossing the US and Canada.

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. chuck north

    Job Killer...this president will go down in history as the biggest loser. Blowing what was a history election to a infamous administration on economy and the nation's stature to the world.

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Peter E

    From a Cornell business study: A) Most of the equipment for the pipeline has already been built, so a lot of the touted job creation is hogwash B) the pipeline will divert the oil from Midwest refineries, so once again, the net jobs created will be much reduced due to job losses there C) The oil is going to Gulf coast refineries partly owned by Saudi Arabia, hence the indirect job creation through profits is also reduced. In addition, Gulf coast refineries export some of the oil, hence the impact on our foreign oil dependence will be affected only very minorly.

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. ThisSerious

    Big point being overlooked here. Nebraska citizens rejoiced last year when this project was delayed because they did not want to risk there natural resources. Obama never said NO FOREVER, he just said NO to the current plan to take the pipeline through Nebraska.

    Come on Republicans I thought you were all about states rights! "Blah...Blah...Blah...States Rights!....Blah...Blah...Blah" (And the Republicans go wild!!!!!)

    January 18, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. jim

    Tom from Canonsburg
    "Why does Texas need more jobs? Build the refinery in Montana."

    Because the RNC isn't funded by people in Montana.

    January 18, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. AHPerry

    I guess if job creation means toxic spill clean-up crews, than yes, it's would create jobs. And the oil is slated to be sold overseas, so it does nothing to ensure our oil dependancy. And it will surely poison everything in it's path. Don't sign it.

    January 18, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. AmericanSam

    President Obama, thank you. You have stood for what's right.

    January 18, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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