Climate

Rick Perry Says He’ll Approve Keystone XL ‘On Day One’ If Elected President

CREDIT: AP Photo/Danny Johnston

n this Aug. 16, 2005 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, speaks at a Little Rock, Ark., news conference as Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts looks on at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.

If elected president, former Texas Governor Rick Perry said that he would immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, authorize natural gas exports, and freeze the Obama administration’s proposed regulations on carbon dioxide.

“On my first day of office I will issue an immediate freeze on pending regulations from the Obama administration,” Perry said while announcing his second bid for the White House at an event in Addison, Texas on Thursday. “On day one I’ll also sign an executive order approving the construction of the Keystone pipeline. … On day one I’ll sign an executive order authorizing the export of american natural gas and freeing our allies from the dependence of Russia’s energy supplies.”

The Keystone XL portion of his promise brings back memories of the 2012 presidential election. Back then, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the same promise to approve the controversial tar sands pipeline, thereby “creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked.” Republican candidate Paul Ryan made the promise as well, citing the need “to unlock the energy we have in this country to create jobs.”

Four years later, the pipeline — which would only create 35 full-time jobs and 15 temporary contractors — is still on hold. And it’s still a Republican priority. When the GOP took control of Congress this year, the first bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was to approve the pipeline’s construction. But President Obama vetoed it in February, saying he wanted to make his decision based on the State Department’s administrative review procedure, and not Congressional legislation.

Environmentalists oppose the Keystone XL pipeline mainly because of the type of oil it would carry. Canadian tar sands oil is more carbon intensive than other types of oil, and harder than conventional oil to clean up when it spills. The carbon intensity of the fuel is a problem for those concerned about climate change, but ostensibly not for Rick Perry, who does not think climate change exists.