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Obama press conference

Obama Says Keystone Pipeline Supporters Exaggerate Its Benefits

Dec. 20, 2014
The Keystone pipeline is "very good for Canadian oil companies, and it's good for the Canadian oil industry, but it's not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers," the president said.

U.S. President Barack Obama downplayed the benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, saying the disputed project to transport crude from Canada is not a "magic formula" for the U.S. economy.

The $5.3 billion project would carry crude oil to Gulf coast refineries from Canada's tar sands. Republicans have long backed the plan, arguing it will boost U.S. oil and gas production and create jobs.

But Obama said supporters had exaggerated the potential benefits of the pipeline.

"There's been this tendency to hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy, and it's hard to see on paper where exactly they're getting that information from," he said at his end-of-year press conference. 

The president said the pipeline would not necessarily reduce oil prices in the United States and that the country would benefit more from other infrastructure investments. 

"It's very good for Canadian oil companies, and it's good for the Canadian oil industry, but it's not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers," he said.

The 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometer) Keystone XL pipeline has been under consideration since Obama took office six years ago, serving as a rallying cry for Republicans and some Democrats in energy-industry states.

In November, the U.S. Senate narrowly rejected a bill that would have approved construction of the pipeline, setting up another likely showdown when the new Republican-controlled Congress convenes in January. 

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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