By Phil Drake | Montana Watchdog
MISSOULA — The federal government rejected the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday, saying it did not serve in the national interest, and added officials did not have sufficient time with deadlines imposed by Congress to gather the necessary information to change their minds.
Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., whose state would be home to nearly 300 miles of the 1,380-mile pipeline, blasted the decision.
“Today’s shameful decision by President Obama to put his re-election ahead of thousands of jobs for American families shows just how much this administration and its allies have bought into the radical anti-job agenda of environmental extremists like the League of Conservation Voters,” he said in prepared remarks.
He said Obama could have allowed the private sector to create thousands of jobs, funded by private investment but instead created “another government road block to economic recovery.”
A formal announcement was made by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns,. pictured at left. A news release from the State Department said the president agreed with the decision.
The pipeline’s builders, TransCanada would still be allowed to continue to work on and pitch an alternative route through Nebraska, the news website Politico reported.
Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail have attacked Obama for putting environmental interestsand the green lobby ahead of a project that they say would create thousands of jobs. Republicans scored a rare win this Congress by including a 60-day deadline for Obama to make a decision on the pipeline as part of the year-end deal on extending the payroll tax holiday.
Administration officials have said that forcing a decision within 60 days would not yield enough time to make a final decision and that Republicans were doing so merely to create a new set of political talking points.
Because the project crosses international lines it has to be approved by the U.S. Secretary of State’s office. Obama delayed a decision until 2013, only to face Republican-backed edicts (including one from Rehberg, which passed the House) tucked inside the payroll savings tax ordering him to make a decision within 60 days.
Rehberg said Wednesday the fight was not over.
“I’m going to keep pushing this project until the Obama administration gets out of the way and Montanans are working these jobs.”