Joe Oliver: Keystone XL an "obvious yes" for Canada and U.S.

File photo of Joe Oliver by David P. Ball

Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources reiterated his support for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline project yesterday, arguing that the project is an “obvious yes for Canada and the United States”.

“In January, the State Department confirmed once again that Keystone XL would have no significant impacts on the environment. The choice is obvious - Keystone XL should be approved, to the benefit of both our countries" said Oliver, citing the U.S. State Department's controversial Final Environmental Impact Statement which was released on January 31 amidst heavy criticism from lawmakers and environmentalists, who alleged that the contractor which produced the report didn’t disclose financial ties to TransCanada - the Calgary-based pipeline company that is proposing to build the pipeline.

Oliver was speaking to an audience of senior energy executives, government officials and business leaders in the energy, policy, technology, and financial communities at the 33rd Cambridge Energy Research Associates annual conference in Houston Texas.

Oliver pointed out that if Keystone is rejected, alternative methods of transporting crude will be used, which would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 28-42 per cent. 

He also highlighted that the project would support the employment of 42,000 Americans while putting $2 billion in earnings into the pockets of American families.

This follows a letter from Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arguing in support of the project. Doer’s letter, dated February 28, is Canada’s submission to the U.S. State Department’s public comment period.

The State Department is currently reviewing whether Keystone XL, first proposed by TransCanada in 2008, is in the U.S. national interest.

Kerry will make a recommendation to U.S. President Obama after weighing factors including Keystone’s environmental, diplomatic and economic impacts. Kerry said recently that he is “now entering a very intensive evaluation” of the pipeline.

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