OTTAWA, Ontario – Canada’s ambassador to Washington said Wednesday he’s confident an oil pipeline from western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast will win approval from the Obama administration if the decision is based on merit and not the “noise” opposing it.
Ambassador Gary Doer said the proposed pipeline would meet U.S. energy security needs and passes all State Department environmental criteria.
“I believe if it’s on merit, it will proceed. If it’s on noise it won’t,” Doer said.
The developer, TransCanada, wants to build the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude oil extracted from the oil sands in Alberta to the many refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. The underground pipeline would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil a day, doubling the capacity of an existing pipeline from Canada.
A coalition of environmentalists, lawmakers and landowners is fighting the proposal amid fears that the Keystone XL pipeline could leak and pollute the Ogallala aquifer, a groundwater supply that sprawls beneath eight states.
A special session of the Nebraska Legislature started Tuesday to consider a bill to give the state more control over the pipeline route.
TransCanada and its supporters have said the project would create U.S. construction jobs, help lower gas prices and reduce dependence on Middle East oil.
Alberta has the world’s third-largest oil reserves, more than 170 billion barrels. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to increase to 3.7 million in 2025. Only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more reserves.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday the decision will be based on what is best for the economy and the American people, including their health.
The State Department is expected to make a decision on the pipeline by the end of the year, but U.S. officials suggested Wednesday it’s possible a decision may not come until next year.