Congressman Adrian Smith says the Keystone XL oil pipeline became a symbolic issue in the climate change movement, which led to its rejection by President Barack Obama.
The route through Nebraska TransCanada proposed for Keystone XL would have cut through counties in the Third Congressional District represented by Congressman Smith.
“The decision that took seven years I would imagine could have been made some time ago,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Smith dismisses President Obama’s suggestion that Keystone would have added to greenhouse emissions by carrying crude from the oil sands of western Canada.
In his statement, the president said the United States is a global leader in the fight against climate change and approving the Keystone XL pipeline would have undercut that global leadership.
The main fight against Keystone XL didn’t center on the pipeline itself, but on the crude it might transport from western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The crude is being produced from oil sands, what environmentalists portray as a particularly dirty fuel.
Smith says the argument doesn’t hold up, arguing crude will be produced from the oil sands with or without Keystone XL, adding that without the pipeline it will be shipped by train and truck, emitting more greenhouse gases than if transported by pipeline.
“There will be more exposure to the environment without the pipeline than if we did have the pipeline,” according to Smith.
Smith says the federal government should concentrate on an energy policy, because it lacks a comprehensive policy that would benefit consumers.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]