The White House has put the brakes on the controversial Keystone oil pipeline project
The Keystone XL Pipeline would have run from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Under the payroll tax deal reached last month, House Republicans gave President Obama 60 days to either approve or deny the pipeline, eager to get Obama on the record about the project one way or the other. A decision in favor of the pipeline would have angered many in Obama's base, while deciding against it would give Republicans ammo in the general election, as many in the GOP have claimed the pipeline would produce tens of thousands of jobs. Fact checkers have disputed that number, according to CBS.
The administration said Wednesday that the deadline the GOP set was rushed, and that the environmental and health impact of such a project needed to be assessed first.
"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.
He went on to say that he recognized the "merits of the pipeline," but that the State Department needed more time to gather "information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.
Backers of the pipeline argue that it would not only produce American jobs, but reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. Critics have worried that the pipeline could not only harm the environment, but the water supply in many parts of the country.
GOP presidential candidates were quick to pounce on Obama for his decision. Newt Gingrich called the denial "stunningly stupid," while Mitt Romney accused Obama pf making the decision for purely political reasons.