- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s decision Friday to reject the Keystone XL pipeline prompted dismay in North Dakota, with top politicians and industry officials saying the administration is missing a chance.

TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline would carry more than 800,000 barrels of Canadian crude a day to refineries along the Gulf Coast. It wouldn’t go through North Dakota but would move about 100,000 barrels of oil daily from the western North Dakota oil patch.

Obama said the pipeline wouldn’t serve U.S. national interests and would undercut America’s global leadership on climate change.

“This is just another frustrating decision from the administration that completely ignores data supporting the pipeline and the numerous benefits that would come from it,” said Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, which represents more than 500 companies working in the state’s oil patch.

Cutting said the pipeline would have helped take 100,000 barrels of crude from North Dakota, relieving truck and train traffic, she said.

“The most baffling part of this decision is that this administration would rather continue importing oil from countries that fund terrorism than from our very own resources and our Canadian allies,” Cutting said.

North Dakota is the nation’s No. 2 oil producer behind Texas. It produces about 1.1 million barrels a day, with about half of it moved by rail, down from about 70 percent a year ago. Recent derailments and fires involving North Dakota crude - including an explosion in Quebec two years ago that killed 47 people - have drawn criticism from lawmakers and the public about using trains to move oil. They argue that pipelines are safer.

North Dakota Sierra Club spokesman Wayde Schafer applauded Obama’s move, saying it “sent a clear message that he is serious about addressing climate change.”

But the state’s congressional delegation said they were disappointed. GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer called it “anti-growth, anti-American jobs.

Both Republican Sen. John Hoeven and Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said they thought the move was political.

“Instead of making it harder for companies to produce and transport energy in the U.S. and Canada by denying projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, the president needs to empower investment in the infrastructure needed to move energy as safely and efficiently as possible,” Hoeven said.

Heitkamp said that “political ideologies on both sides of the aisle amplified the Keystone XL pipeline into something well beyond its actual reality. As I have said time and time again - it’s a pipeline.”


Associated Press writer Blake Nicholson contributed.

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