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November 9, 2015

MSCI President Bob Weidner “Deeply Disappointed” By Obama Administration Rejection Of Keystone XL Pipeline

In a press conference last Friday, President Barack Obama announced that his administration had rejected TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Earlier in the week, TransCanada had asked the administration to pause its review of the project; the administration denied that request.) Despite the fact the U.S. State Department had found the pipeline provided the route with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions for Canadian crude oil to enter the United States, President Obama said, “America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” 

According to The Washington Post, the president and his Secretary of State John Kerry had decided to reject the project two years ago, before the State Department’s assessment of the project was released, but decided to wait for a “politically opportune time” to make the announcement. 

MSCI President and CEO M. Robert Weidner issued a statement after the president’s announcement. Weidner said, “MSCI is deeply disappointed with the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada’s application for the Keystone XL Pipeline project. This project was supported by a majority of the American people and was found by the State Department to have a negligible effect on the environment. It also would have created tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” Weidner also argued, “Insufficient pipeline capacity – caused, in part, by delays in permitting for new pipeline construction – contributes to increased energy prices and market volatility. The White House’s rejection is a huge missed opportunity to help secure the United States’ energy future.” 

The project would have created 42,000 new jobs for American workers during construction, put $2.2 billion in workers’ pockets, and contributed $3.4 billion to U.S. gross domestic product.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was disappointed with this decision, as did TransCanada. (On Thursday, the day before the Obama administration’s announcement, Trudeau’s foreign minister reiterated the Canadian government’s support for the project.) In a statement, TransCanada said it would consider all of its options for how to move forward. The company could resubmit its application once President Obama leaves office in January 2017.