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Obama rejects Keystone XL project to show "leadership"

Obama rejects Keystone XL project to show "leadership"

By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson for The Washington Post

President Obama rejected a presidential permit Friday for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, citing concerns about its impact on the climate.

"America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," Obama told reporters, standing in the Roosevelt Room beside Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face, not acting."

He said now was the time to act to “protect the one planet we’ve got while we still can.”

The decision to deny TransCanada Corp. a cross-border permit for a 1,179-mile pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Neb. puts an end -- at least for now -- to a seven-year fight over a project that came to symbolize what Obama could do unilaterally to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

What started as a routine permitting application for a large infrastructure project became a litmus test among Democrats for what President Obama was willing to do to tackle global warming in the face of Republican resistance in Congress. Backers of the project said it would ensure a secure supply of oil from a reliable U.S. ally and create jobs; opponents said it would both exacerbate climate change by releasing a massive amount of carbon into the atmosphere and create pollution hazards along the pipeline's route.

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