In a direct shot at lawmakers set to vote on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, President Obama bashed the project on Friday and said it will have no impact on U.S. gas prices and won’t create as many as jobs as its supporters say.
Speaking at a press conference while in Myanmar, Mr. Obama offered perhaps his harshest assessment to date of the controversial pipeline.
“Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf [Coast], where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices,” the president said. “If my Republican friends want to focus on what’s good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy. I’m happy to have that conversation.”
The House is expected to vote Friday on legislation advancing the pipeline; the Senate also is likely to vote soon.
But the White House offered indications this week that Mr. Obama will veto any bill deeming Keystone approved.
The administration maintains that it must wait for the result of a key court case in Nebraska before making any decisions on the pipeline, which has remained in bureaucratic limbo for the past six years.
In Nebraska, the state supreme court is expected to soon rule on whether Keystone’s route through the state is legal. After that, Mr. Obama theoretically would make his decision.
Despite his words, data from Mr. Obama’s own administration make a strong case for the pipeline.
A State Department report found the project will create more than 40,000 new jobs. That same study also determined Keystone will not have a significant impact on U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, which Mr. Obama said is key to his decision-making process.