Proponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline have argued that the project would create jobs, reduce the price of gas, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and secure an energy future. Amid the COP21 Global Climate Conference, President Obama addressed the public on the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Washington, D.C. – President Obama made a passionate speech today rejecting the Keystone XL, acknowledging that there is not a dichotomy between economic growth and protecting the environment.
“The old rules said we couldn’t transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers. But this is America and we have come up with new ways and new technologies to break down the old rules. So that today home grown American energy is booming, energy prices are failing and over the past decade even as our economy has continued to grow, America has cut our total carbon pollution more than any country on earth,” said Obama.
The proponents fo the Keystone XL Pipeline have tried to argue that the project would create short-term construction jobs and long term jobs for maintianing the pipeline infrastructure. Over time, the claims of job creation have been scrutinized and dispelled.
Obama said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it. If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come.”
The second point Obama made in his speech is that the pipeline would not result in a reduction of gas prices, noting that gas prices are already dropping.
The third point Obama made is one that environmental activists have been most concerned about, the risk of pollution from a spill and the inevitable risk of pollution from burning the fossil fuel the pipeline was slated to transport. “Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security,” said Obama.
Obama highlighted the progress made during his term on the transition away from fossil fuels including:
“Our biggest and most successful businesses are going all-in on clean energy. And thanks in part to the investments we’ve made, there are already parts of America where clean power from the wind or the sun is finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power,” said Obama.
Obama declared the United States as a global leader on fighting climate change and said that approving Keystone XL would undercut this global leadership.