Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy suggested on Monday that building the Keystone XL pipeline would not spell game over for the planet.
"No, I don't think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate," McCarthy said when asked if the controversial oil-sands pipeline would be a climate disaster at an event hosted by Politico's Mike Allen.
McCarthy went on to say, "Nor do I think there's any one solution to the climate-change challenge that we have. Everything has to be looked at, I think, in a way that continues to advance our interests in moving toward a ... low-carbon future."
Keystone is at the center of a contentious national debate over American energy security and global warming. Environmentalists say that building the pipeline, which would haul crude from Canada's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, would worsen climate change.
Republicans on Capitol Hill and the oil-and-gas industry, meanwhile, say the pipeline should be built to create jobs and spur the economy.
McCarthy was quick to emphasize President Obama's commitment to taking action to tackle climate change throughout Monday's event.
"[The president] has outlined an ambitious but compelling argument on why we need to take action now," McCarthy said. "His leadership has been amazing."
Obama has directed EPA to craft sweeping regulations that will rein in carbon pollution from the nation's fleet of power plants, an effort that McCarthy is charged with overseeing.