In reality, the president was resisting an artificial deadline from Republicans trying to force his hand.
But the fact is, for the good of our country and our economy, rejecting the Keystone XL deal was the best decision possible.
Here are six facts about the proposed Keystone XL deal that make clear why the pipeline was a bad deal for America and why it deserved to be rejected:
1. Keystone XL Would Not Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency
The oil to be sent through Keystone XL pipeline was never destined for US markets. In its own presentation to investors about the proposed pipeline extension, TransCanada (the company behind Keystone XL) boasted that most if not all of the extracted and refined oil would be exported --- sold in oversees markets where oil fetches a higher price (and thus turns a higher profit for the company).
2. Keystone XL Would Have Increased Domestic Oil Prices
Currently, Canadian oil reserves stored in the Midwest help suppress gas prices in the United States, particularly for farmers in our nation’s heartland.
In its permit application for the pipeline, TransCanada noted that the Keystone XL pipeline would allow the company to drain these reserves and export that fuel as well. According to TransCanada’s own statements, this would raise gas prices in the United States, especially in the Midwest.
3. Keystone XL Overstated Number of Jobs to be Created
In 2008, TransCanada’s original permit application to the State Department said the Keystone XL pipeline would create “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” in temporary jobs building the pipeline.
By 2011, now facing growing opposition to the pipeline, TransCanada had inflated these numbers (using undisclosed formulas) to 20,000. Supporters of the proposal, backed by big oil, have since trumpeted these trumped up numbers.
4. Current Keystone Pipeline Leaked 12 Times in Last Year
The pipeline that the Obama administration has rejected the permit for would be an extension of a pipeline that has already leaked -- not just once, but 12 times in the last year.
While TransCanada tried to dismiss these leaks as “minor” averaging “just five to 10 gallons of oil” each, the leak on May 7, 2011 near Millner, N.D., spilled about 21,000 gallons of oil in total.
5. The Environmental Concerns About Oil Leaks Are Justified
Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman strongly opposed the Keystone XL project because the pipeline would run through a massive and vital aquifer in his state the supplies clean drinking water to over 2 million Americans plus water that fuels the region’s agriculture industry.
Building the pipeline might have created a few thousand temporary jobs but even a minor oil spill in or near the aquifer would have jeopardized hundreds of thousands of jobs, not to mention the health and safety of millions.
Meanwhile, in Michigan where a similar tar sands pipeline spilled over 840,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010, residents are still complaining of headaches, dizziness and nausea while studies continue to look at the long-term effects of just being near such an oil spill when it happens.
6. Mining Tar Sands Would Worsen Global Warming
Assuming you believe, like the vast majority of the world’s scientists, that climate change is both real and of concern, the Canadian tar sands are the second largest carbon reserve in the world.
Mining these reserves would release all of that carbon into the atmosphere, to detrimental effect on our environment. Sure, Canada might go ahead and mine the tar sands anyway, but the United States doesn’t have to help pollute the planet and our own states in the process.
No matter how you look at it, the Keystone XL proposal was a slimy, scam of a deal. America is better than that.
We can create good-paying jobs that build our families and our economy for the future without hurting our environment today.
We can invest in innovative energy technology that not only reduces our dependence on dirty fuel but also puts us in the lead in critical, emerging markets.
We can prioritize good jobs and a competitive economy of the future, with all the upsides of American energy production and innovation and far, far fewer of the downsides that Keystone carried.
Let’s focus on more of those deals going forward.
Sally Kohn is a Fox News Contributor and grassroots strategist. You can find her online at http://sallykohn.com.