In his final press conference of 2014, President Obama spoke frankly about the so-called “benefits” to Americans of the Keystone XL pipeline. He points out it’s Canadian oil being transported over the United States to be sold on the global markets, with very little benefit to U.S. consumers. It’s good for the Canadian oil industry but doesn’t even nominally benefit Americans at the gas pump. President Obama also lists the climate-change related costs, such as rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy and more wildfires and floods, that should be taken into consideration. It’s very refreshing (albeit long overdue) to hear the President of the United States being honest about this project and the mounting cost of climate change.
(And this final 2014 press conference President Obama called exclusively on female reporters for questions, which started a twitterstorm of debate. Nicely played, Mr. President.)
President Obama also weighed in on the controversial Keystone XL during his visit to the Colbert Report earlier this week.
The full segment is below; the Keystone XL conversation starts at 11:40 and runs to 13:20.
“Keystone is going through an evaluation process. Right now it is being held up by a court in Nebraska which is making a decision about whether the route is legal or not.
In the first instance, I don’t make the decision or not. The State Department evaluates it. What I’ve said I’m going to make sure that if we look at this objectively, we’ve got to make sure that it’s not adding to the problem of carbon and climate change. Because these young people are going to have to live in a world where we already know temperatures are going up and Keystone is a potential contributor to that. We have to examine that, and we have to weigh that against the amount of jobs that its actually going to create, which aren’t a lot. Essentially this is Canadian oil passing through the United States to be sold on the world market. It’s not going to push down gas prices here in the United States. It’s good for Canada; it could create a couple of thousand jobs in the initial construction of the pipeline. But we have to measure whether it’s going to contribute to an overall warming of the planet, which could be disastrous.”