January 19, 2012 -- New York -- AJC called President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project “disappointing.”
“Failure to move forward to approve and build the Keystone XL pipeline threatens our country’s energy security, and also slights Canada, our dependable, democratic ally and neighbor,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
AJC had urged President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline construction as a vital step toward strengthening America’s energy security, all the more important with Iran threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz.
Rejecting the pipeline project, the State Department claimed that it “does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.” The administration had until late February to make a decision.
The State Department did not preclude eventual approval of a revised version of the proposed pipeline plan. But decisions on any alternative plan likely will not occur until after the November presidential election.
AJC has long advocated for a comprehensive, multifaceted energy policy targeted at substantially reducing U.S. dependence on oil from hostile or unstable foreign sources. The Keystone project would be a critical part of that broad-ranging approach. It also would yield economic benefits, including thousands of new jobs in the U.S.
Looking ahead, AJC continues to recognize the need to ensure that the 1,700-mile pipeline will be environmentally sound. In its letter to Secretary of State Clinton last year, the global advocacy organization pointed out that according to an earlier State Department assessment, a set of 57 additional safety requirements issued for the pipeline would, if met, provide “a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current code.”