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Obama Administration Rejects Keystone XL Permit

J. Mijin Cha

It’s not often that good news comes out of Washington. Today is an exception: the Obama Administration is expected to deny TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sand pipeline application. The pipeline was intended to bring crude oil from the tar sand pits in Alberta down to the Gulf Coast refineries and would have been built over several environmentally sensitive areas. TransCananda can submit a new application with an alternative route but the rejection of the application is a big victory for the environment, jobs, and democracy.

We’ve detailed all the reasons Keystone should be rejected on the merits before:

  1. It’s environmentally disastrous.
  2. It won’t create permanent jobs, let alone good jobs.
  3. And there’s no guarantee the refined oil will stay in the U.S., leaving us still dependent on foreign oil.

But, there is an even greater reason to celebrate the rejection of the pipeline. Last year, Republicans held unemployment benefits and the payroll tax holiday hostage in exchange for action on the pipeline, even though the State Department had already decided to delay a decision until 2013. By doing so, they put the interests of big oil in front of struggling workers and dared the Obama Administration to blink. Rejecting the pipeline sends the message that these tired political games will not work. Republicans tried to bulldoze over the Administration and the Administration (finally) fought back.

The victory is short-lived, as TransCanada will almost certainly submit a new application. But, in the meantime, let’s focus on supporting a proven job creator, renewable energy, and hope this is the first in a long line of smack downs.