Secretary of State
November 6, 2015
After a thorough review of the record, including extensive analysis conducted by the State Department, I have determined that the national interest of the United States would be best served by denying TransCanada a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agrees with this determination and the eight federal agencies consulted under Executive Order 13337 have accepted it.
Executive Order 13337 delegates to the Secretary of State the President’s authority to issue or deny Presidential Permits like the one sought for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In reaching my decision, I evaluated information provided by TransCanada, the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, the views of other federal agencies, and nearly five million public comments.
I based this decision on key findings by the State Department, notably:
- The proposed project has a negligible impact on our energy security.
- The proposed project would not lead to lower gas prices for American consumers.
- The proposed project’s long-term contribution to our economy would be marginal.
- The proposed project raises a range of concerns about the impact on local communities, water supplies, and cultural heritage sites.
- The proposed project would facilitate transportation into our country of a particularly dirty source of fuel.
The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combatting climate change.
I am also convinced that public arguments for and against the pipeline have, to some extent, been overstated. Our analysis makes it clear that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be the economic driver it is heralded to be.
On the other hand, while it would facilitate the transportation to the United States of one of the dirtiest sources of fuel on the planet, the proposed project by itself is unlikely to significantly impact the level of crude extraction or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.
The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers – jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed.
As Secretary of State, I fully recognize the importance of this project to Canada, one of our closest strategic allies and energy trading partners. We consulted with our Canadian friends and I spoke with Foreign Minister Dion today regarding this decision. While we understand the impact of this decision on Canada, I am confident that our close and long-standing relationship with Canada will continue to grow stronger in the years ahead.
The United States needs to prioritize the development of renewable energy opportunities and continue to transition to the kind of jobs that better utilize our skilled manufacturing base. Clean energy is not just the solution to climate change; it’s also one of the greatest economic opportunities the world has ever seen. If we continue to make smart choices, American businesses – and American workers – stand to benefit enormously.
Decades of science prove beyond any reasonable doubt that human activity is a direct cause of the rising seas, increasing temperatures, and intensifying storms threatening our planet – and the window of opportunity for action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change is closing quickly. I have seen the world try and fail to address this threat for decades. Today, the need for American leadership to combat climate change has never been greater, and we must answer the call.
The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves. Denying the Keystone XL pipeline is one of those tough choices – but it is the right decision, for America and the world.