Obama plugs oil pipeline, GOP protest

Neil Munro | White House Correspondent

GOP leaders jumped on the news that President Barack Obama is stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada, and charged him with putting his political fortunes ahead of the good of the country.

In a tweet ostensibly directed at Obama, the National Republican Congressional Committee said, “U just turned ur back on 20k american workers & energy security what r u gonna do next? I’m going 2 Disney World.”

On Thursday, Obama is schedule to fly to Disney World — locared in the swing state of Florida — to tout new regulatory initiatives.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also slammed the announcement, saying that ”Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is as shocking as it is revealing.”

“If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin,” Romney said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, declared that Obama “has sacrificed 20,000 American jobs and an affordable, secure energy source simply to please his liberal base.”

The pipeline was strongly opposed by environmental groups, whose members could provide dollars and volunteers to Obama’s re-election campaign.

“Today, Barack Obama proved he will say anything to save his job but do nothing to create jobs for the unemployed,” Priebus said. “America cannot afford four more years of misplaced priorities… We need a president who puts the interests of the American people ahead of the special interests.”

Without confirming the pipeline’s rejection, White House spokesman Jay Carney blamed the GOP for the job-killing news.

In a Christmastime budget deal, the GOP set a  “purely partisan” effort to require a 60-day rapid review of the pipeline, making it “virtually impossible for a review to take place,” he told reporters at the White House today.

“Sixty days is not enough time,” he said.

In November, amid pressure from environmentalists, Obama postponed a decision on the pipeline’s construction plan until after the 2012 election.

The pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast was opposed by environmentalist groups, who argue that the Canadian oil would produce too much carbon dioxide.

However, Canadian officials have said a U.S. rejection of the pipeline would push them to build a pipeline to Canada’s Pacific coast, from where the oil would be exported to Chinese consumers.

The pipeline’s cancellation was delegated by White House officials to the Department of State, partly to insulate Obama from the backlash from construction unions, including the the Annapolis-based United Association, which represents pipeline workers.

In August 2011, the union pushed for approval of the pipeline. “This project will create 13,000 high-wage jobs with benefits for our members… [and] will create hundreds of permanent positions needed for daily operation and significantly boost the local economy,” read an Aug. 1 message from the union’s United Association Legislative Action Task Force.

“Additionally, with this project, the U.S. will receive oil from our ally, Canada, rather than increasing dependency on Middle Eastern countries… China is prepared to step in and ship the [refined Canadian] oil overseas in order to sell it back to our country at double the price.”

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