President Obama halted the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline on Friday, Nov. 6. Formerly issuing a revamped and stringent environmental regulatory policy, Obama continues to challenge large oil companies and other carbon emission contributors. Now augmenting his plan to lead a global front on lowering carbon emissions, Obama has resolutely batted down efforts to install an 1800-mile-long pipe to transport oil sands from Alberta, Canada.
Opposed by bipartisan consensus within Congress, though supported by overwhelming consensus within the scientific community, the President will have to thread a fine needle to uphold his proactive polices while appeasing legislative priorities at home.
For seven years, the Keystone pipeline has been debated rigorously, primarily outside the confines of Congress. Almost unanimously hailed by Republicans, accompanied by strong support by oil state Democrats, the pipeline ultimately retains the support to be implemented. However, Obama cemented the strident opposition, which has spent years laboring against the prospective plan.
Ultimately, environmentalists and climte advocates have been the bulwark of effort to upend the pipeline. However, pipeline enthusiasts in Congress have urged implementation for what they believe will herald robust job growth and energy security, according to The New York Times. The State Department analysis of the pipeline’s prospects entails limited job growth while only solidifying 35 permanent jobs once the project is finished. Such job growth was forecasted to be limited to a one tenth of one percent increase, according to Brookings.
Aside from strong Congressional support within the United States, Obama has had to consider the global consensus to address climate change in his decision regarding the Keystone pipeline. Soon arriving will be the Paris accord, in which a multitude of world leaders will assemble and collectively address the ubiquitous threats of climate change. Obama hopes he can set precedent for other nations in his obstinate disapproval of the pipeline and implementation of more pressing regulations.
Furthermore, environmental conscious sentiments are more evident in other countries than the United States which is problematic for Obama in his effort to not only lead the front, but remain cognizant of his country’s position in remaining apace with other nations. The Pew Research Center has illustrated the disparity in environmental consciousness, indicating the 45 percent acknowledgement of climate change by United States citizens as a serious issue that of which is behind the global median of 54 percent. Obama’s disapproval of the pipeline is one step to place the United States as a leading player at the Paris accord.
The Keystone pipeline may not be built, but it certainly is not wiped off the agenda of some, especially Republicans. Obama is ending the last year of his presidency with a bold effort to address climate change, whether it aligns with public opinion or not. Obama’s nullification of the pipeline is a policy move for what he believes is conscious of the future.
Editor’s Note: Information from Brookings Institute, The New York Times, and the Pew Research Center was used for this report.