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State Department rejects KeystoneXL pipeline

TransCanada Energy may reapply with new route around sensitive habitat.

obama rejects Keystone pipelineEnlarge
President Obama is expected today to reject the proposed Keystone pipeline project, which attracted demonstrators to the White House last year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Barack Obama’s decision to reject the KeystoneXL pipeline project in its current form is having an impact across North America.

The State Department said the project was hampered by an "arbitrary deadline" imposed by the Republican party, Fox Business said.

"The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," a news release from President Barack Obama said, and was reported by Fox Business.

Newt Gingrich, campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination in South Carolina, called Obama's decision "stunningly stupid," the Associated Press reported. "What Obama has done is kill jobs, weaken American security and drive Canada into the arms of China out of just sheer stupidity," he added.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nomination front-runner, called Obama's decision "as shocking as it is revealing," adding that it "shows a president who once again has put politics ahead of sound policy."

Bloomberg News is reporting that TransCanada Energy can re-file its application to have the pipeline stretch from Alberta to the Gulf Coast as long as it avoids sensitive habitat in Nebraska. Sources leaked news of the looming decision, which had an impact all day on the markets and in political arenas.

TransCanada shares dropped as much as 4.8 per cent in trading today, and settled at $41.32, or off by 42 cents. The price of oil, meanwhile, slid 8 cents to $100.79 a barrel. The Republican Party questioned Obama’s commitment to job creation.

“This is not good for our country," House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday, according to CNN. "The president wants to put this off until it's convenient for him to make a decision. That means after the next election. The fact is the American people are asking the question right now, ‘Where are the jobs?’”

The $7-billion project could have transported 700,000 barrels of oil each day from oil sands in northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast – or 1,700 miles.

TransCanada, which still has the support of the Conservative Canadian government, said as many as 20,000 jobs could be created. Environmentalists expressed a differing view of the project, and lauded Obama’s choice.

"The entire purpose of the pipeline is to move Canadian oil to the crude refineries in the Gulf so that it can be shipped overseas," National Wildlife Federation vice-president Jeremy Symons told Bloomberg. "If the pipeline is built, Canada gets the jobs, China gets the oil and American families get the oil spills."

At issue is a Nebraska’s Ogallala aquifer in the Sand Hills region, an area important to drinking water sources.

"This isn't just the right call, it's the brave call," said 350.org spokesman Bill McKibben, a leading voice among environmentalists. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money."

More from GlobalPost: Thousands join Keystone pipleline protest

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120118/obama-set-reject-keystonexl-pipeline