President Obama has rejected the application of Trans Canada Pipeline to approve Keystone. Simply put, the President accepted the opinion of the US State Department that approval would not be in the national interest.
Strategically the decision was perfectly timed. The US economy is on a tear and unemployment has dropped below 5%. So the argument by Keystone supporters that construction would lead to jobs does not carry as much weight now as it did in 2012.
Internationally the US is now on the side of the angels at a critical time! Obviously approval of Keystone would have “undercut” (the President’s words) US leadership on climate change just before COP 21.
The President also argued that approval would damage American energy security. This position is contrary to what Republicans and the oil industry have been claiming all along.
Obama spoke to Prime Minister Trudeau who expressed his disappointment at the decision. But nobody in the Canadian Government will be shedding tears about this outcome. At least not genuine tears.
The President criticized both politicians and environmental groups for turning the approval issue into a campaign cudgel. He has distanced himself from the acrimonious political dispute that will inevitably follow his decision.