Jack Gerard's remarks at press teleconference on Keystone XL
As prepared for delivery
Press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL
November 6, 2015
Hello everyone. Thanks for calling in.
By rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama has once again put extreme politics above the interest of job creation and smart energy policy. Five of his own administration’s reviews have determined the project to be safe and environmentally sound, yet the administration has turned its back on our closest ally and trading partner in favor of professional activists who are advocating a "leave it in the ground" approach to energy. It’s ironic that the administration would strike a deal to allow Iranian crude onto the global market while refusing to give our closest trading partner, Canada, access to U.S. refineries. This decision will cost thousands of jobs and is an assault on American workers. It’s politics at its worst.
This is a missed opportunity for the thousands of hard-working men and women in the labor industry whose lives depend on shovel ready projects like KXL. The 42,000 jobs they were waiting for are now gone along with the $2 billion in wages they would have made building Keystone, according to President Obama’s own State Department analysis.
At a time when our nation needs leadership to secure America’s position as a global superpower, through commitment to U.S. resources and infrastructure, the administration has chosen to delay, defer and now defeat a critical energy project that serves the interest of our nation, workers and families.
We know Canada will move forward with oil development with or without Keystone XL. Remember KXL is just one of six major pipeline proposals to bring Canada’s oil sands to market. Experts agree: Oil sands are being developed. Rejecting the pipeline means blocking efficient access to an important supply source for American refineries, which are the finest in the world. Blocking that source of stable, reliable oil will also hurt consumers.
Gas prices have been near four-year lows due in large part to surging American production. KXL would have given us access to an additional 830,000 barrels per day of steady supply from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region which would have further reinforced our crucial buffer against global supply disruptions and price shocks at the pump, but that opportunity has been squandered.
Now it’s up to the American people to decide if decisions like this will go unchallenged. Voters sizing up the candidates for 2016 are looking for true leadership on energy issues because energy affects our daily lives from how much we pay at the pump to the plastics in our smart phones and the performance of our retirement accounts.
It is an understatement to say that we are disappointed by today’s decision. The bigger disappointment and loss is being felt today by our nation’s workers who have been awaiting these well-paying jobs, and American consumers who will instead rely upon oil from less stable regions of the world. And what signal does this send to our Canadian ally? And the broader infrastructure community.
Today’s decision is not the end. TransCanada and its customers are not giving up on the project, and the company is now weighing all options to get the pipeline built. We also call on Congress to once again step in and approve KXL. It doesn’t make sense the administration would strive to assist Iranian oil producers in getting their product to market, while turning its back on our friendly neighbor and American jobs. We are going to continue to raise our voices on this extreme decision that was solely based on politics and not sound science.
I’ll take your questions now.