AED president says Keystone XL pipeline decision is a lost opportunity

President Barack Obama rejected a permit for the 1,170-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline Nov. 6 that would have brought a daily total of 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to American processing plants.

The rejection of TransCanada's pipeline was a major victory for environmentalists, who lobbied the president during the past seven years of negotiations to keep campaign promises to ween the U.S. off of fossil fuels.

The decision was a disappointment for heavy equipment companies like Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), who had spent equal lobbying effort trying to tip the decision in their favor. AED's partners and similar companies stood to gain from the building, outfitting and maintenance of such a large-scale project.

AED President and CEO Brian McGuire lamented what he said was a lost opportunity to create jobs, business and produce more energy at home because of a decision he said was more political than practical.

“[President Obama’s] own State Department said the project will support a substantial number of jobs and significant economic activity with minimal environmental impact,” McGuire said. “Unfortunately, in denying the permit, the president made a decision based on political rhetoric rather than concrete evidence.”

The project was expected to create 42,000 jobs and generate $2 billion of income.

“Denying the permit means the president has cut off a safe and reliable energy source during a period of unprecedented instability in the Middle East,” McGuire said. “Under the recent Iran nuclear deal, Iranian oil can again flow to world markets, but by rejecting Keystone the president is denying that same access to our closest trading partner. Any way you look at it – from an economic, environmental, national security or foreign policy standpoint – the president made the wrong decision.”

Obama cited a lack of long-term impact on energy supply and a weakening of the U.S. ability to lead on climate change as reasons for rejecting the pipeline proposal.

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