Local reaction to KeystoneXL Pipeline rejection

By DeeDee Stiepan, ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s been a topic of contention for several years, but Friday President Obama announced he is rejecting the proposal to build the KeystoneXL Pipeline. The announcement put an end to the seven-year political battle over the project, which would have spanned North America.

The KeystoneXL Pipeline would have carried barrels of petroleum nearly 1,200 miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

As part of his statement, Obama said the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers and wouldn’t increase America’s energy security.

Minnesota State Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL, Rochester) agrees with the decision saying the oil that would have come along the pipeline is not the “fuel of the future” and the effort to switch to clean fuels needs to continue.

“We’ve shown, especially in Minnesota, that we have a pretty good economic boost from that,” explains Liebling. “We’ve created a lot of clean energy jobs and there’s just no reason to go backwards and put a lot of resources and put the environment at risk for a fuel whose time has past.”

Minnesota First District Congressional Candidate (R) Jim Hagedorn, disagrees.

“The idea that we’re not going to need crude oil long into the future is just ridiculous,” he explains. “The United States has more natural resources than any other country.  We could be energy independent well into the foreseeable future.  We just need people in Washington D.C. to have the political will to go out there and allow the private sector to get these resources,” says Hagedorn.

Last year, the State Department issued a report that projected the pipeline construction would support more than 42,000 temporary jobs and after construction would create nearly 50 permanent jobs.