Al Gore: Obama right to reject Keystone

Al Gore says President Obama made the right call when he denied a permit for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

The former vice president, on his blog Monday evening, lauded environmentalists who battled TransCanada Corp.’s project to bring oil sands crude from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

“This is an important win not only for the thousands of activists who risked arrest — and for the hundreds who went to jail — but for all of us who want to try and roll back the effects of the climate crisis, not magnify them,” Gore said.

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Environmentalists opposed the project due to greenhouse gas emissions and other ecological damage from Alberta’s oil sands projects, fear of spills along the pipeline route and other factors.

Obama, however, said on Jan. 18 that he was not rejecting the project on the merits but rather because Republicans placed what he called an arbitrary decision timeline in December’s payroll tax cut extension measure.

The State Department, which headed the federal review of Keystone XL, has invited TransCanada to reapply, and the company intends to do so. Gore, in his post, says opponents need to be ready.

He writes:

Many have noted the continuing risk that advocates of the pipeline will come back with a modified proposal backed by lobbying and campaign contributions — and that following the election this fall this issue may yet resurface in the first part of 2013. As a result opponents of the Keystone pipeline must remain engaged and prepared to beat this proposal again when and if it resurfaces.

Republicans and business groups have hammered Obama over the rejection, calling it a missed chance to boost U.S. energy security and create jobs.

But Gore claims it’s a “myth” that the project would help the country, and highlighted last week’s State Department report to Congress about the project as evidence.

State, citing its own earlier environmental impact statement, told Congress: “The analysis from the final EIS ... indicates that denying the permit at this time is unlikely to have a substantial impact on U.S. employment, economic activity, trade, energy security or foreign policy over the longer term.”