The White House and President Barack Obama ended years of speculation Friday with the announcement the application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline had been rejected.

In an announcement late Friday morning, Obama said the project by TransCanada, would “not serve the national interests” of the U.S. – and said the project had had an overly inflated role in political relations between Canada and the U.S.

Obama said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was disappointed, but understood the decision.

“While he expressed his disappointment, given Canada’s position on this issue, we both agreed that our close friendship on a whole range of issues – including energy and climate change – should provide the basis for an even closer co-ordination between our countries going forward,” Obama said at the White House, following a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Hours after the decision was released, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke in response.

“Though I am not surprised by the news coming from the White House this morning, as we have anticipated this announcement for some time, I am disappointed by the way the U.S. Government chose to characterize our energy exports,” Notley said.

“The decision today underlines the need to improve our environmental record, enhance our reputation, so that we can achieve our goal of building Canada’s energy infrastructure including pipelines, to new markets.”

Notley said she was pleased in the work being done to create a climate change plan for Alberta.

“Canada can be, and is, a global source of environmentally responsible energy, but it can be more so through better environmental policies, and Alberta will act to help make that happen in partnership with Canada’s new federal government,” Notley said. “We hope future energy infrastructure projects will be debated on their own economic merits.”

Trudeau released a statement of his own following the announcement, echoing what Obama said.

“We are disappointed by the decision but respect the right of the United States to make the decision.

“The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project, and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and co-operation.”

TransCanada President and CEO Ross Girling said in a statement the company was disappointed by the decision.

“Today, misplaced symbolism was chosen over merit and science – rhetoric won out over reason,” the statement continued – and said the company was reviewing the decision and its rationale.

Following the decision, TransCanada shares fell by nearly five percent.

Disappointment in Hardisty, Keystone XL’s starting point

Meanwhile, there was more disappointment in a central Alberta community Friday.

The pipeline would have originated in Hardisty, and residents and town officials had been looking forward to the economic boost the project would bring.

Still, the final decision was not a surprise to many.

“[The President has] been putting it on hold and doing whatever he could politically for the last two or three years, well six years now, trying to not pass it,” Deputy Mayor Ivan Lesmeister said.

Lesmeister said companies have the ability to move oil via rail from the tank farm, and they recently got approval to ship about 400 rail cars every 24 hours as demand warrants.

In the future, if TransCanada is able to resubmit its application for the pipeline, town officials plan to support it – but Lesmeister said the town will turn focus to the Energy East pipeline, that would also originate near Hardisty and would transport product to eastern Canada.

With files from Amanda Anderson and The Canadian Press