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By Richard Woodbury
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, April 22 Far from giving
up on the Keystone XL pipeline to the United States, Finance
Minister Joe Oliver said on Tuesday Canada would keep the issue
alive with the Obama administration despite a further delay of
the U.S. decision on whether to approve it.
Oliver, who vigorously promoted the TransCanada Corp
crude oil line as natural resources minister before
taking over at finance last month, told reporters he was very
disappointed that the U.S. had delayed the decision on Friday
Asked if Canada's Conservative government should wait until
a new U.S. administration was elected before making a renewed
push, he said: "I think it's important for Canada to keep the
"After all, this is a project which is supported by a strong
majority of Americans, by a commanding majority of senators and
congressmen, by every governor through whose state the pipeline
would go. It is widely supported and we want to continue to
remind people that the project is there."
The State Department extended a comment period on the $5.4
billion, 830,000 barrel-per-day project, a move that could well
delay a final decision until after the U.S. mid-term elections
Oliver said the U.S. delay would affect economic growth and
jobs on both sides of the border.
He also said it was an issue of national security, pointing
out that Canadian oil would supplant crude from Venezuela, which
had threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States five
times in the previous five years.
Europe's exposure to a possible cut-off of Russian natural
gas and the crisis in Ukraine demonstrate "the vulnerability
that countries have when they rely on non-reliable sources of
energy," he added. "Canada is a reliable source of energy."
Critics say the pipeline would only encourage the
development of the oil sands, and thereby worsen global warming.
Oil companies use large amounts of natural gas to make steam to
liquefy heavy oil reserves, creating more carbon dioxide than
"I hope people would stick to the facts. The fact is that
the oil sands represent a miniscule proportion of greenhouse gas
emissions, one one-thousandth, and we have done a great deal to
reduce the intensity of emissions," he said.
Coal-fired electricity production in the United States emits
33 times more than all the oil sands put together, he said.
Asked about environmental activists coming to Canada to
focus on the oil sands, he said: "I think that perhaps people
coming from the United States might contemplate what the record
is there and take that into account."
Canada's emissions per capita and in relation to gross
domestic product are somewhat lower than in the United States,
(Writing by Randall Palmer and Louise Egan; Editing by Jeffrey
Hodgson and Chris Reese)