President Obama went on the offensive in a New York Times interview, and appeared to argue against Keystone XL by debunking the Republicans’ pipeline talking points.
Transcript via The New York Times:
NYT: A couple other quick subjects that are economic-related. Keystone pipeline — Republicans especially talk about that as a big job creator. You’ve said that you would approve it only if you could be assured it would not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon in the atmosphere. Is there anything that Canada could do or the oil companies could do to offset that as a way of helping you to reach that decision?
MR. OBAMA: Well, first of all, Michael, Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.
NYT: Yet there are a number of unions who want you to approve this.
MR. OBAMA: Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need.
So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.
Now, having said that, there is a potential benefit for us integrating further with a reliable ally to the north our energy supplies. But I meant what I said; I’m going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. And there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.
Obama ripped apart every single one of House Speaker John Boehner’s Keystone XL lies. Boehner’s office is still putting out press releases claiming that the pipeline will create 20,000-100,000 jobs.
Boehner has also claimed that Keystone XL is critical to energy independence, “Listen, the Keystone pipeline is critically important for our energy supply. America is about to enjoy -or North America – about to enjoy energy independence here in the next seven or eight years. This is going to give our country a great advantage when it comes to manufacturing more goods here in America and exporting them around the world. So we need to continue to build pipelines, to expand refineries, and to expand the exploration of oil and gas in America.”
Barely a week goes by without Speaker Boehner whining about the need to approve Keystone XL right now. What Rep. Boehner never tells anyone when he discusses the project is that he stands to personally benefit from its approval. Boehner is invested in seven tar sands companies that will benefit from the pipeline’s construction. This is why Boehner keeps lying about the values and virtues of Keystone.
It is clear that the president isn’t buying any of what Boehner is selling on the pipeline. In fact, Obama is pushing back against the Speaker’s propaganda campaign.The president appears to see the pipeline for what it really is, a gift to Big Oil. Keystone won’t create jobs. It won’t bring gas prices down, and the pipeline definitely isn’t a path to energy independence.
If the upper part of the pipeline is constructed, it could be an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Keystone is bad policy, and represents the wrong direction for the country to be moving in. The president understands this. Obama could still approve the pipeline, but by knocking down all of the Republican talking points about its virtues, he has made a compelling case for why it should be rejected.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association