McCaskill, Blunt, congressional Republicans critricize Obama Keystone decision

By:  Chuck Raasch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON • Sen. Claire McCaskill joined Republican critics of President Obama's nixing of the Keystone XL Pipeline Friday, arguing that her fellow Democrat's decision would simply send Canadian oil through different routes into world markets.

"I do not believe we can stop this oil from being moved to market, and I do believe the safest way to move this oil is by pipeline," said McCaskill, D- Mo., a long-time supporter of the pipeline.

In saying he opposed the Canada-to-Texas pipeline after a seven-year State Department review, Obama argued that the country was inexorably moving away from an oil-based economy and that the arguments behind the pipeline - that it would help lower energy prices and create jobs - had been overtaken by energy-production trends and growth elsewhere in the U.S. economy, including alternative energy sources,

"Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America's energy security," Obama said in a short White House speech, after which he took no questions. He said the pipeline had been used too long as a political cudgel, and that he concluded that Keystone was neither a "silver bullet for the economy as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others."

But his critics said Obama had used the project as a political cudgel in Friday's announcement.

"I am disappointed that the President has once again put his own political agenda ahead of the priorities of Missouri's families and workers," said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. He called Keystone a "shovel ready" project that could have sent 800,000 barrells of oil a day to U.S. refineries, "reducing our dependence on hostile energy sources."

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, has long opposed the pipeline. But Blunt's 2016 Senate opponent, Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander, supported as well as congressional Republicans in the St. Louis area supported it.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, said Obama "doubled down on his opposition to common sense energy solutions" and that the rejection was based on "environmental concerns that are not rooted in reality."

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, called the decision a "shameless political move to appease his radical, anti-fossil fuel base. 

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, said the decison proved Obama "cares more about his radical environmentalist friends than good-paying American jobs and energy security. "

Luetkemeyer said he believed Obama timed the announcement to help pave the way for "another bad deal at the U.N. Climate Summit in December." That is scheduled for Nov. 30 through Dec. 11 in Paris.