After more than seven years of debate, President Obama announced Friday he's putting the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipeline, confirming earlier reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. With VP Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry flanking him at a White House press conference, Obama said Kerry had informed him Friday morning that the State Department felt the pipeline "would not serve the national interests of the United States," with Obama adding: "I agree with that decision." He listed his reasons for rejecting the deal, including his belief that the pipeline wouldn't cut costs at the pumps, wouldn't create many jobs to "make a meaningful, long-term, contribution to the economy," and "would not increase America's energy security" by "shipping dirtier crude oil into our country," per CNN.
He also mentioned that the TransCanada pipeline—which would have stretched 1,179 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Neb., funneling fuel from there through existing pipelines to the Gulf Coast—had played "an overinflated role in our political discourse" and had been "too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties." He noted he had spoken to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who "expressed disappointment" about the decision, but also acknowledged the two countries' "close friendship" would continue to expedite "closer coordination going forward." The highly anticipated move is meant to show the Obama administration is holding true to its word of acting aggressively on the environment before he brokers the major UN meeting on climate change in Paris in December, the Times notes. "The time to act is now," Obama said at the presser. "Not later; not someday. Right here, right now." (Guess TransCanada's pleading letter to the US State Department didn't work.)