Texans for and against the Keystone XL pipeline say President Obama’s rejection of the pipeline today will affect the Lone Star state. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports.
The 1700 mile pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf, passing through East Texas along the way. Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Businesses, says the President’s decision means a loss of jobs in this state.
Hammond: Well, the impact on Texas is very clear. First place you have all the construction jobs lost. You have the fact that the opportunity for the refineries to be humming at full tilt for years to come.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman has estimated that the Keystone Pipeline would generate more than $2.3 billion in new spending in Texas.
But environmentalists says the President made the logical decision because the State Department could not complete a thorough review of the pipeline’s safety by the February 21 deadline set by Republicans.
Environmentalists have cited concerns that TransCanada, the company proposing the pipeline, built a similar tar sands pipeline that had numerous leaks.
Trevor Lovell of Public Citizen says water in East Texas was at risk. Lovell: It's going to cross right over the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, it's the third largest aquifer in the state. It supplies water to sixty counties in East Texas. That's a pretty compelling reason to do a through review of the permit application.
The President’s decision doesn’t kill the project. The President says TransCanada is free to reapply for a permit. And TransCanada says it plans to do that.