Canada reveals it expects U.S. will back pipeline

Thu Sep 1, 2011 2:49pm EDT

Related Topics

* Pipeline will be approved, says environment minister

* Ottawa had previously declined to predict outcome

* Critics say they fear disaster if pipeline ruptures (In U.S. dollars)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Canada's government on Thursday revealed for the first time that it expects the United States will approve a controversial pipeline that would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico Coast.

Opponents say they fear an environmental calamity if TransCanada Corp's (TRP.TO) planned $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline were to spring a leak near U.S. water aquifers. They also say the pipeline would cause greenhouse emissions to soar as output in the oil sands is cranked up to meet new demand.

The U.S. State Department, which concluded last week that the Keystone XL line would do little damage to the environment, will decide by the end of the year whether the pipeline is in the national interest.

"I think that we can look forward to eventual approval by the American government," Environment Minister Peter Kent told reporters when asked about the pipeline.

Canada's right-leaning Conservative government - which is actively pressing Washington to approve the 1,700 mile (2,750 km) pipeline - had until now declined to say whether it thinks the project will go ahead.

Canadian backers of Keystone say the pipeline, designed to carry around 500,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast, would create thousands of jobs and increase U.S. national security by cutting the need to import oil from OPEC members.

Kent said TransCanada had "perhaps one of the best records of any pipeline operator" in North America.

"There are also the significant elements of both fuel security (and) energy security, but also jobs and stimulation of the economy along the path of the entire pipeline," he said.

Nebraska's governor urged U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday to block the pipeline, saying it could hurt a regional water source.

Nearly 600 Keystone XL opponents -- including high profile figures such as actress Daryl Hannah -- have been arrested in protests in front of the White House in recent days.

Kent, who raised eyebrows earlier this year by describing tar sands crude as an ethical source of energy, criticized those he said were spreading "a great deal of misinformation (and) distortions" about Keystone.

"The environmental concerns I think of everyone are very real ... and it's a matter of better informing those who might not understand exactly what the project would entail and at the same time ensuring that the project as it goes forward - assuming it will - is done in the most environmentally sensitive way possible," he said. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

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Comments (2)
hsvkitty wrote:
Our [not so} esteemed Prime Minister has declared himself an economist. He really believes this is a good idea for Canada, economically. He is a conniving conservative driven by Capitlaist greed and a need for expansion of the oil sands (once considered too dirty to even touch … an environmental disaster in it’s own right!) and pipelines through north American forests.

The sad thing is there are a lot more like him out there that think greed is good and this expansion is economically sound so we should all be happy and just let him destroy our country for ‘our own good.’ He is the GWBush of the North now… caring about oil and not caring a lick about the environment or the future.

Americans don’t care a lick about their environment either as long as oil is flowing… until there is a disaster in their back yard. Well the pipeline is going through a lot of back yards….

There is no environmentally sensitive way to make the pipeline … but it will sell because “it is good for Canadian and Americans and makes jobs.” Who gives a crap about Canada becoming ground zero for global warming? The environmental concerns aren’t just real … they are being realized.

Sep 01, 2011 10:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
michaeljones wrote:
All you folks in Canada will get our wothless yankee dollars and end up with a deep pit, sludge pond, polluted water, poisoned land and a weird climate. What the Us will get is a few more years driving our SUV’s on the interstate, a polluted aquifer, and weird climate.
What wise leaders we have!

Sep 02, 2011 8:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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