President Obama’s recent statements about the Keystone XL pipeline have earned him a label many politicians (and their staff) dread: Washington Post’s “four Pinocchios.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog recently gave the president’s remarks during a radio interview “four Pinocchios,” the most egregious classification possible for statements by political figures and government officials, for his misinformed claims that the Keystone XL would not benefit U.S. producers and would be nothing more than an export pipeline.
So, just what did President Obama say about the KXL that earned such a harsh censure from Fact Checker staff?
“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States…”
Not only is the president’s assumption wrong, it goes against the research produced by President Obama’s own State Department and studies from private sector experts like IHS Energy. Fact Checkercorrectly notes that these studies indicate that the majority of the refined product from the KXL will be consumed in the U.S. What’s more, IHS Energy’s KXL study found that Gulf Coast refiners will have a key advantage over foreign refiners when it comes to KXL crude because of the high costs incurred from moving the oil overseas.
“We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”
According to Fact Checker, the KXL would be a boon to producers in oil-rich areas of the U.S. like North Dakota and Montana, as TransCanada has “has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken area –and hopes to build that to 100,000,” nearly 10 percent of the region’s production. The president may claim that the KXL will only benefit Canadians, but the truth is that U.S. producers have quite a bit to gain once the project comes online. In fact, “the Congressional Research Service in 2013 estimated that about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity had been set aside for crude from the Bakken region.”
The verdict on President Obama’s KXL comments: four Pinocchios, also known as a “whopper” on the Fact Checker truth scale. Fact Checker staff concluded their analysis by suggesting that President Obama read the State Department’s final environmental impact statement and encouraging him to back up his argument against the KXL with the facts:
If he disagrees with the State Department’s findings, he should begin to make the case why it is wrong, rather than assert the opposite, without any factual basis. Moreover, by telling North Dakota listeners that the pipeline has no benefit for Americans, he is again being misleading, given that producers in the region have signed contracts to transport some of their production through the pipeline.