Obama Nixes Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, Hollywood Activists Praise Decision

President Barack Obama Getty 11-11-11 P
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Robert Redford calls the decision a "victory of historic proportions for people from throughout the pipeline path and all across America."

The Obama administration, which was seen as lagging on key environmental issues, won points in Hollywood on Wednesday by scuttling the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama said that he received a recommendation from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that he reject the request to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada to Texas.

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"As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," the president said in a statement posted on the White House blog.

"As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied," Obama said. "And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree."

Robert Redford, who had lobbied the president on the issue, was one of the first industry activists to issue a public statement praising the move.

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"(Obama's) decision represents a victory of historic proportions for people from throughout the pipeline path and all across America who have waged an uphill, years-long fight against one of the most nightmarish fossil fuel projects of our time," Redford wrote on the Huffington Post.

Activist Laurie David sent out her response via Twitter: "Oil industry scathing response to obama pipeline decision is the best evidence he made the right choice!"

Obama said in his statement that the decision was "not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people."

He also said he was "disappointed" that Republicans in Congress were trying force the issue.

Republicans immediately blasted Obama, saying the pipeline would have created 20,000 new jobs.

"Obama has put appeasing radical special interests before creating American energy jobs," the National Republican Congressional Committee wrote on Twitter.