Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline in win for greens

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Obama Administration to Reject Application to Build Keystone XL Pipeline

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years.

"The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy," Obama told a press conference. He said it would not reduce gasoline prices, and shipping "dirtier" crude from Canada would not increase U.S. energy security.

SEE ALSO:TransCanada requests suspension of Keystone XL permit

The denial of TransCanada Corp's more than 800,000 barrels per day project will make it more difficult for producers to develop the province of Alberta's oil sands. It could also put the United States in a stronger position at global climate talks that start in Paris on Nov. 30 in which countries will aim to reach a deal to slow global warming.

See Americans voicing their opinions on Keystone XL:

29 PHOTOS
2016 issues: Environment, Climate Change, Keystone, Alt Energy
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Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline in win for greens
UNITED STATES - JULY 7: Lilyana Distler, 4, of Waldorf, Md., holds a sign during a 'play-in' protest by kids and mothers in Upper Senate Park organized by Moms Clean Air Force, July 7, 2015. About 400 gathered to support the EPA's Clean Power Plan and call attention to climate change and air pollution. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
The Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to, is seen in Steele City, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. TransCanada, the company behind the project, said Monday it had asked the State Department to suspend its review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, citing uncertainties about the route it would take through Nebraska. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
The Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to, is seen in Steele City, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. TransCanada, the company behind the project, said Monday it had asked the State Department to suspend its review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, citing uncertainties about the route it would take through Nebraska. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
With AFP Story by Michael MATHES: US-politics-environment-climate,INTERVIEW Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, holds a placard which he had with him during his speeches on the floor of the Senate during an interview with Agence France-Presse at his office in the Hart Senate Office Building on May 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. On Monday, May 18, 2015, the two-term Democrat offers his 100th Senate floor speech on climate change -- an unprecedented three-year odyssey demanding Republicans address one of the more pressing concerns of the 21st century. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: will.i.am poses backstage during Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day on National Mall to end extreme poverty and solve climate change on April 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, displays an advertisement used against her 2006 greenhouse gas measure during a news conference to illustrate the same scare tactics used in the Legislature's latest environmental fight, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Pavley's proposal, SB32, calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels, by 2050. SB350, by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, calls for boosting renewable energy use to 50 percent by 2030. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
FILE - This July 13, 2011 file photo, shows homes flooded by the Souris River in Minot, N.D. Minot is among 10 cities across the nation getting a $25,000 grant and volunteers to improve their ability to handle risks related to climate change, including extreme weather. The help is through the Resilience AmeriCorps initiative that President Barack Obama announced in July 2015. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, File)
President Barack Obama waves after touring Everglades National Park on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Florida. Obama used the visit to warn of the damage that climate change is already inflicting on the nation's environmental treasures. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., asserts an objection to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a Democratic sponsor of the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline bill, as the committee met to advance the controversial project, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sanders, who sits with the Democrats, wanted an amendment to put Congress on the record about their beliefs on climates change and whether they agree with the international scientific community that climate change is real or not. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
University of Washington senior Sarra Tekola, left, stands with other protesters at a Board of Regents meeting Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in Seattle. Members of the student group Confronting Climate Change spoke at the meeting, asking the school to divest itself from direct holdings in oil sands and coal. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FILE- In this March 8, 2014, file photo steam from the Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the setting sun near St. Marys, Kan. A groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, by the United States and China puts the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
FILE - In this July 1, 2013, file photo, smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont. State officials planned a public meeting Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Colstrip on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to cut greenhouse emissions. The town is home to one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West, a 2,100-megawatt facility that churns out more greenhouse gases than any other source in Montana. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
Demonstrators form a sit-in during a march towards Wall Street from Battery Park to protest for action on climate change and corporate greed, in New York, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, a day after a huge climate march in the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Some 300 environmental activists yell their support for stricter pollution rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency during a march to the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh by some 5000 union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America Thursday, July 31, 2014. Thursday is the first of two days of public hearings being held by the Environmental Protection Agency in Pittsburgh to discuss stricter pollution rules for coal-burning power plants proposed by the EPA. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Some 5000 union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, march through downtown Pittsburgh to the William S. Moorhead Federal Building Thursday, July 31, 2014. Thursday is the first of two days of public hearings being held by the Environmental Protection Agency in Pittsburgh to discuss stricter pollution rules for coal-burning power plants proposed by the EPA.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A member of the Boilermakers local 154 Pittsburgh holds a sign at a rally to support American energy and jobs in the coal and related industries at Highmark Stadium in downtown Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The rally is being held the day before the Environmental Protection Agency conducts public hearings on its new emissions regulations for existing coal fired power plants. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A member of the Boilermakers local 154 Pittsburgh wears a sign on his hat while attending a rally to support American energy and jobs in the coal and related industries at Highmark Stadium in downtown Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The rally is being held the day before the Environmental Protection Agency conducts public hearings on its new emissions regulations for existing coal fired power plants. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
John Harter, a Tripp County landowner whose property is crossed by the Keystone XL pipeline, appears at a Public Utilities Commission hearing at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D., Monday, July 27, 2015. Opposing sides in the debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline faced off on Monday in front of the state regulatory panel that is considering for the second time in just over five years whether to approve the construction of the South Dakota portion of the long-delayed project. (AP Photo/James Nord)
Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, left, with 350 DC, and Lindsey Halvorson, 20, a student at American University, gather up their signs after attending a celebration gathering with other opponents of Keystone XL oil pipeline, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in support of President Barack Obama's veto of the legislation, outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., center, joined by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., left, and Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, to talk about the Keystone XL Pipeline bill being debated on the Senate floor. Despite President Barack Obama's veto threat, the Republican-controlled Senate is moving ahead on the bill to construct a pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Jim Tarnick of Fullerton, Neb., stands Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, stands next to anti- Keystone XL pipeline signs, which are posted at the border of his property. Tarnick is opposed to the pipeline which is planned to run through his property. . (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
An anti Keystone XL pipeline sign is attached to a post along the planned route of the pipeline near Fullerton, Neb. Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Demonstrators opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline stand with signs outside the office of Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Democrats plan to use Senate consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to get Republicans on the record about climate change and to resurrect parts of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill doomed by pipeline politics last year. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Demonstrators opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline hold banners outside the office of Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Democrats plan to use Senate consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to get Republicans on the record about climate change and to resurrect parts of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill doomed by pipeline politics last year. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
The first foundation jacket installed by Deepwater Wind in the nation's first offshore wind farm construction project is seen Monday, July 27, 2015, on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Block Island, R.I. Deepwater Wind will consist of five turbines producing a total of 30 megawatts of electricity. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 24: (L-R) American Association of Blacks in Energy President and CEO Paula Jackson, U.S. Country President for the United States at Alstom Amy Ericson, CEO and Board Member of Advanced Microgrid Solutions Susan Kennedy, Chairman of Smart Wires Inc. Tom Voss and Director of the Advanced Research Projects AgencyÐEnergy Dr. Ellen Williams participate in a panel discussion at the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on August 24, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Political and economic leaders are attending the summit to discuss a domestic policy agenda to advance alternative energy for the country's future. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR ACCCE - Governor Bobby Jindal speaks at the ACCCE Energy forum on Thursday April, 9, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and InsideSources kicked off the first of six energy policy discussions leading up to the 2016 elections. (Conrad Schmidt/AP Images for ACCCE)
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, right, talks with employees as he tours the Rippey Wind Farm, Monday, June 15, 2015, in Grand Junction, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who determined the pipeline was not in the country's interest before Obama's final decision, said approving Keystone "would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combating climate change."

Keystone XL would have linked existing pipeline networks in Canada and the United States to bring crude from Alberta and North Dakota to refineries in Illinois and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico coast.

TransCanada first sought the required presidential permit for the cross-border section in 2008 but the proposal provoked a wave of environmental activism that turned Keystone XL into a rallying cry to fight climate change. Blocking Keystone became a litmus test of the green movement's ability to hinder fossil fuel extraction in Canada's oil sands.

"This is a big win," said Bill McKibben, co-founder of the environmental group 350.org which helped make Keystone a symbol of a movement to slow global oil output. Obama's decision "is nothing short of historic, and sets an important precedent that should send shockwaves through the fossil fuel industry."

TransCanada and other oil companies said the pipeline would have strengthened North American energy security, created thousands of construction jobs and helped relieve a glut of oil.

But since 2008 the United States has experienced a domestic drilling boom which has boosted oil production 80 percent and contributed to a slump in U.S. oil prices from above $100 a barrel to about $44.

CANADA-U.S. RELATIONSHIP

Newly sworn in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a supporter of Keystone, voiced disappointment but said the Canada-U.S. relationship "is much bigger than any one project."

TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said the company would review its options to potentially file a new application for a pipeline to bring oil sands crude to the United States.

"Today, misplaced symbolism was chosen over merit and science, rhetoric won out over reason," he said in a statement.

A senior U.S. State Department official left open the possibility TransCanada could seek a different decision under another U.S. administration, telling reporters: "for the State Department to reconsider the application at any time, the company would have to reapply."

TransCanada had asked the Obama administration on Monday to pause the review in a move seen by many as an attempt to postpone a decision until a new U.S. president took over in 2017. TransCanada shares fell 5.2 percent on the Toronto stock exchange on Friday to C$42.90.

All the Democratic U.S. presidential candidates, including front runner Hillary Clinton, oppose the pipeline while most Republican candidates are in favor.

Friday's rejection was a loss for Republicans on Capitol Hill who in January had made Keystone their top issue of the new Congress. They passed a bill that would have allowed Congress to decide on the pipeline, legislation Obama vetoed.

See social reactions from leading Republicans:

13 PHOTOS
GOP reaction to Obama's Keystone XL pipeline decision
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Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline in win for greens
The Obama Admin's politically motivated rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a self-inflicted attack on the U.S. economy and jobs.
President Obama is bowing to radical environmentalists and snubbing thousands of high quality, high paying energy sector jobs. #KeystoneXL
Thousands of high quality energy sector jobs will be left on the altar of Obama’s environmental extremism. #KeystoneXL
Obama’s rejection of #KeystoneXL will flush American jobs down the drain... all to appease the agenda of science denying radicals.
.@BarackObama has abandoned American workers to appease the environmental fringe. #KeystoneXL #sad
As President I’d authorize #KeystoneXL, and we'd get Americans to work!
Keystone XL pipeline should be approved! @POTUS is once again stopping progress and blocking job creation.
Why is @BarackObama so obsessed with worshiping the gods of green energy and rejecting the #KeystonePipeline? (1/4)
Why is @BarackObama more interested in satisfying radical liberals than creating tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs? (2/4)
Building the #KeystonePipeline is an absolute no-brainer, too bad @POTUS has lost his mind. (3/4)
Radical Islamic terrorism is a greater threat than a sunburn. (4/4)
The rejection of #KeystoneXL is yet another blow to our limping economy. It won't stop the oil but it will mean its transport is less secure
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Senator John Hoeven, a Republican of oil-producing North Dakota, said TransCanada would be able to challenge the decision under international trade agreements such as NAFTA or the World Trade Organization.

Obama's decision will have a "chilling effect" on any company considering building energy infrastructure, which could leave the United States at risk in the long term of not having the pipelines it needs, Hoeven said in an interview.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Timothy Gardner, Arshad Mohammed, Patrick Rucker, Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe in Washington and Nia Williams in Calgary; Writing by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lisa Lambert and James Dalgleish)

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