Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lambasted President Barack Obama today for rejecting a rush approval of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Appearing at a town hall in Warrenville, South Carolina, Gingrich departed from his prepared remarks to respond to the Keystone XL decision. It was a “stunningly stupid thing to do,” Gingrich said, to raucous applause. “These people are so out of touch with reality, it’s as if they were governing Mars!”
Gingrich then scornfully accused the president, whom he addressed as “this guy,” of “get[ting] away with things that are destructive to the United States”:
What Obama will have done is kill jobs, weakened American energy security, and driven Canada into the hands of China out of just sheer, utter, stupidity. Now, you know, I think the Congress frankly should just take him head on on this. This is such an inexcusably destructive decision that there ought to be a major effort in Congress to put into a bill requiring his signature. We need to quit letting this guy get away with things that are destructive to the United States.
The arguments Gingrich made in support of the Keystone XL pipeline — which put America’s future at risk for the sake of foreign oil profits — were out of touch with reality.
He falsely claimed the project would create “twenty to fifty thousand construction jobs.” Even TransCanada admits there would be no more than 6,000 temporary construction jobs. Expert analyses have found that increased Canadian tar sands development for foreign export will do nothing to reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East oil. Keystone XL has nothing to do with Canada’s drive to build a pipeline to export tar sands to China. In fact, the conservative Canadian government is pursuing both routes aggressively, trying to steamroll intense domestic opposition to the expansion of risky tar sands development.
Gingrich also denies the utterly destructive threat of global warming pollution that would be the result of burning Canada’s tar sands.