Citing climate change, Obama rejects Keystone XL Oil Pipeline construction plan

Obama, Biden, and Kerry, speaking about the Keystone XL oil pipeline November 6, 2015. REUTERS

In a decision that environmental activists see as a hard-won victory, President Obama today announced he is rejecting the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The news ends a seven-year review process that was a focal point in the debate over the Obama administration's climate policies.

"America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," the president told reporters, in the Roosevelt Room next to Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

"And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face, not acting."

Obama said now is the time to “protect the one planet we’ve got while we still can.”

From the New York Times:

The move was made ahead of a major United Nations summit meeting on climate change in Paris in December, when Mr. Obama hopes to help broker a historic agreement committing the world’s nations to enacting new policies to counter global warming. While the rejection of the pipeline is largely symbolic, Mr. Obama has sought to telegraph to other world leaders that the United States is serious about acting on climate change.

A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen