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Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley Praise Obama's Rejection Of Keystone Pipeline

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/11/2015 Samantha Lachman
ATHENA IMAGE © Bloomberg via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

WASHINGTON -- Two Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, praised President Barack Obama's Friday rejection of TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil across the United States-Canada border. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came out against the pipeline in September, did not immediately respond to the announcement. 

The State Department had spent seven years reviewing the proposed project. On Friday, Obama announced that his administration had concluded the pipeline would not serve the United States' national interests. In rejecting the Canadian company's application, the department concluded that it would not contribute significantly to the economy, would not lower gas prices and would not enhance American energy security. 

Sanders, who has criticized Clinton for the amount of time it took her to announce that she, too, opposed the pipeline, sent out a statement lauding the administration's decision. 

"Climate change is a global environmental crisis of huge magnitude," the senator wrote in a statement. "It is insane for anyone to be supporting the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fuel on earth. As someone who has led the opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Day 1, I strongly applaud the president’s decision to kill this project once and for all." 

O'Malley used his statement to reiterate his campaign's major argument that he's the only candidate to have "gotten results." 

"Paving the way for something like the Keystone Pipeline would be a step backward, and I'm glad to see that President Obama and Secretary Kerry today are rejecting the Keystone permits," he said. "I'm the only candidate who is setting a progressive goal of powering our nation by 100 percent renewable energy. I am also the only candidate who has gotten results - cutting greenhouse gases and creating thousands of clean energy jobs to tackle climate change. Clean energy isn't a pipe dream, especially if we show the leadership to make bold and progressive choices about our energy future." 

Polling on the issue has shown that while a majority of Americans support the pipeline, only about 40 percent of Democrats back it. 

Clinton had held off on stating her opposition to the pipeline when pressed, saying that it would be inappropriate to take a position on the project since she led the State Department when it was undergoing environmental impact reviews. (In 2010, as secretary of state, she said the department was "inclined" to approve the project, but reiterated that it hadn't finished its analysis and hadn't signed off on the proposal.)

But in September of this year, she said she could not wait any longer, announcing a few days later that she believed the pipeline would interfere with the country's efforts to fight climate change. 

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