Canada minister 'cautiously optimistic' US will approve Keystone XL

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Thursday he does not expect the US to veto the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Texas.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/File
President Barack Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla. Canada's Conservative government, which wants Washington to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, also backs industry proposals for pipelines running from the oil sands to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday he does not expect the United States to reject TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Texas.

U.S. officials say they expect the government to make a final decision on the northern leg of the $5.3 billion pipeline by the middle of the year.

Green groups strongly oppose Keystone XL, which they say will boost global warming, and want President Barack Obama to block the project.

"I remain cautiously optimistic," Oliver told reporters.

Canada's Conservative government, which wants Washington to approve Keystone XL, also backs industry proposals for pipelines running from the oil sands to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Asked about the effects of a U.S. veto, he replied: "That rejection, which I do not anticipate, would give even more impetus for us to move west, to move east ... but we're not anticipating that result."

Canada, the single-largest supplier of energy to the United States, sends 100 percent of its natural gas and 98 percent of its crude to its giant southern neighbor.

Last year, Obama threw his support behind the southern section of the line, which is now being built. Washington still has to rule on a new route for the northern pipeline, which is expected to transport 830,000 barrels per day of oil.

Environmentalists oppose Keystone XL because production of oil sands crude is carbon intensive. U.S. labor leaders support the pipeline for the jobs it would generate.

The Canadian government rejects the idea that developing the oil sands would cause a spike in emissions of greenhouse gases. Ottawa says Canada, in some ways, was doing more than the United States to fight global warming, which Obama has made clear will be a major focus of his second four-term term.

Federal Canadian and Alberta government ministers, who have made several trips to the United States recently to push the economic benefits of the pipeline, are starting to stress environmental issues as well.

Oliver, who is due to make speeches on the Canada-U.S. energy relationship in Chicago and Houston next week, said the oil sands were responsible for just 0.001 percent of global greenhouse emissions.

"We think we have science and facts on our side ... in some respects we're moving with the United States, in other respects we're in advance of the United States," he said.

Oliver said emissions from coal-powered plants in the United States were 40 times greater than emissions from the oil sands. Coal emissions in Obama's home state of Illinois alone were more than double those produced by the oil sands, he said.

"So the United States has some work to do," he said.

The Globe and Mail on Wednesday cited unnamed Canadian officials as saying Canada would regard a Keystone XL rejection as a betrayal.

"I wouldn't view it as a betrayal. We're hopeful they'll do the right thing," said Oliver when asked about the reported remarks. "The basic relationship between Canadaand the United States remains very strong".

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Canada minister 'cautiously optimistic' US will approve Keystone XL
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today