No mention of Keystone XL apparent as Darryl Sutter meets Obama
Published Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:39PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:54PM EDT
Canada’s latest -- and most unlikely -- oilsands ambassador, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, met with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday, but no mention of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was immediately made.
Sutter generated buzz earlier in the day after he suggested he planned to bring up the massive pipeline project with the U.S. president. The Alberta-born NHL coach-- who formerly coached the Calgary Flames and still owns property in the province -- has reportedly voiced his support of Keystone.
Sutter and the Kings were in Washington for a meet-and-greet with Obama as the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Obama was in good spirits for the orchestrated event, giving a short speech about the team’s underdog story leading up to the playoffs.“These guys were not defending champions. In fact, before last year, L.A. had never won a Stanley Cup,” he told reporters.
The Kings, who were joined by the defending MLS Cup champions the LA Galaxy, posed with the president after presenting him with a number 44 LA King’s jersey. Obama thanked the team, commenting that the number was a “lucky” number.
The president then shook hands with Sutter before walking away.
Neither Sutter nor Obama has released a statement indicating a discussion on the oilsands took place.
If approved, the $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline will transport 800,000 barrels of oilsands bitumen a day from Alberta to a refining hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast, crossing through six U.S. states.
Opponents have voiced concerns about the possible environmental effects of such a massive project, while supporters say the pipeline is fundamental to both the U.S. and Canadian economy, especially as the U.S. moves toward a stated goal of energy independence.
The Obama administration had rejected the original permit application made by pipeline operator TransCanada last year, but the company was allowed to reapply after proposing a new route for the 3,200-kilometre project.
The U.S. State Department signed off on Keystone on March 1, finding the pipeline doesn’t pose greater environmental risk than other modes of oil transportation across North America. But Obama must still give his approval before the project goes forward.
A number of high-profile Canadians have travelled to Washington and other U.S. cities in recent months to discuss the project, including Natural Resources Minster Joe Oliver, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and federal Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.