In a decision fraught with political risk, U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday rejected the permit for the proposed giant Keystone XL pipeline project, insisting that his administration needed more time to determine whether it served the national interest.
His decision was hailed by environmentalists, who have strongly opposed the seven-billion-dollar project that would transport oil extracted from tar sands in Canada some 2,700 kms to U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico, and denounced by Republicans who contend that the project would create tens of thousands of new jobs.
"This isn't just the right call, it's the brave call," said Bill McKibben, the head of 350.org, which successfully mobilised the U.S. environmental community and citizens' groups against the project last year.
"The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he's too conciliatory," he said. "But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ...