Brad Wall's letter won't affect Obama's pipeline decision: diplomat
U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson appears on CTV’s Question Period, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2012.
Published Sunday, January 20, 2013 9:00AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:19PM EST
U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson says a letter from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall urging the White House to approve the Keystone XL pipeline will have little impact on the project’s outcome.
The letter, also signed by 10 Republican governors, says the pipeline is fundamentally important to the economic prosperity of both the United States and Canada.
When Jacobson was asked if it would have an impact on U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision, he replied: “No, I really don’t.”
Jacobson told CTV’s Question Period that a science-based analysis will determined whether the proposed $7-billion TransCanada pipeline will get Obama’s stamp of approval.
“What’s going on here and what’s going to determine this is how do we strike the right balance between our need for safe and secure sources of energy – Canada -- and our concerns about the environment,” Jacobson said.
“These are the same issues that people in Canada are wrestling with and that’s what this process is all about, and hopefully we’re getting toward the end of it.”
If the project is approved it would carry oil 3,460-kilometres from Alberta to Steel City, Nebraska, and then on to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Last year, Obama reversed his decision on the controversial project until after the election. As Obama’s second-term inauguration approaches, TransCanada says it intends to re-apply for the presidential permit needed to cross the border, and expects the White House to approve the application in the first quarter of 2013.
Jacobson said it’s difficult to strike a balance between the economic benefits of the pipeline, and the environmental impact. He added that Americans remain divided on the issue.
The project was rejected last year to re-evaluate the pipeline’s route, which cuts through the ecologically-sensitive Sand Hills area in Nebraska. A newly-proposed route avoids the Sand Hills region.
“The Governor of Nebraska and the environmental group in Nebraska that was evaluating this came up with what they believe is a better route,” said Jacobson. It’s now up to the State Department, and we’ll see what happens.”