Obama comments on Keystone spark ire, more concerns about project’s future

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from FoxNews,

President Obama’s latest comments on the Keystone XL oil pipeline — including an attempt to downplay the number of jobs it would create — are re-igniting concerns that the administration may not approve the project.

The proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline has been one of the most divisive political issues of the past four years, essentially pitting Republicans and other pro-business groups including unions against environmentalists and their Democratic allies.

The president, in an interview Saturday with the New York Times, repeated his position that the administration’s decision will be “based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere.”

However, he also took a swipe at what he described as the Republicans’ argument that Keystone would be a “big jobs generator.”

“There is no evidence that that’s true,” Obama said, arguing the best estimate is 2,000 initial construction jobs followed by no more than an additional 100 jobs. The newspaper’s transcript of the interview showed Obama chuckling as he made the point.

“That is a blip relative to the need,” he said.

His estimate is significantly lower than his own State Department’s projection of 42,000 constructions jobs and way smaller than the 118,935 that project developer TransCanada expects.

Regardless of the accuracy of the numbers, the comments only fueled concern that the administration is viewing the pipeline with increasing skepticism, after sidelining the decision during the presidential election year.

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