President Obama, declaring that he would not bow to congressional pressure, announced Wednesday that he was rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, a massive project that would have stretched from Canada’s oil sands to refineries in Texas.
Obama said that a Feb. 21 deadline set by Congress as part of the two-month payroll tax cut extension had made it impossible to do an adequate review of the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada.
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” the president said in a statement.
The decision and the language that accompanied it made clear that the White House, far from deflecting a political issue until after the election, was fully engaged in a battle with pipeline proponents. Obama said that his administration had worked to improve energy security through higher fuel-efficiency standards, and that it would explore ways to relieve the pipeline bottleneck slowing oil shipments between a major terminal in Cushing, Okla., and the nation’s gulf coast refineries.
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