News / Economy

Canada Loses Patience on Pipeline, Tells US to Decide

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Canada bluntly told the United States on Thursday to settle the fate of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, saying the drawn-out process on whether to approve the northern leg of the project was taking too long.
 
The hard-line comments by Foreign Minister John Baird were the clearest sign yet that Canada's Conservative government has lost patience over what it sees as U.S. foot-dragging.
 
Baird also conceded that Washington might veto the project, the first admission of its kind by a Canadian government minister.
 
The 1,200-mile (1,930-km) pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day from the Alberta tar sands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Ottawa strongly backs Keystone XL, which it says would create jobs and provide a secure supply of oil to Canada's closest ally and trading partner.
 
“The time for Keystone is now. I'll go further - the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one. We can't continue in this state of limbo,” Baird said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
 
Although the State Department is responsible for ruling whether the pipeline meets the national interest, President Barack Obama has made clear he will make the final decision.
 
The Keystone pipeline under construction in David City, Nebraska. (Courtesy TransCanada)The Keystone pipeline under construction in David City, Nebraska. (Courtesy TransCanada)
x
The Keystone pipeline under construction in David City, Nebraska. (Courtesy TransCanada)
The Keystone pipeline under construction in David City, Nebraska. (Courtesy TransCanada)
Obama is under heavy pressure from environmental activists to veto the northern leg, and Washington seems in no hurry, despite the growing irritation in Ottawa. Canada is the largest single supplier of energy to the United States.
 
The State Department issued a largely favorable initial environmental impact assessment in March 2013, which was followed by a public comment period. On paper, at least, the department should have issued an updated impact assessment and then a final recommendation by the end of 2013.
 
But the timetable has slipped badly, and political observers expect Obama will act later this year, possibly after midterm congressional elections on Nov. 4.
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney referred questions about Baird's comments to the State Department, citing the current review. When a decision is made, it will be announced, he told reporters.
 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month that Obama had “punted” the decision but expressed confidence that the United States would eventually approve the pipeline.
 
Last September, he told a New York audience that the logic behind the pipeline was “simply overwhelming” and said “you don't take 'no' for an answer.”
 
Keystone Pipeline, existing and proposed sections (Click to expand)Keystone Pipeline, existing and proposed sections (Click to expand)
x
Keystone Pipeline, existing and proposed sections (Click to expand)
Keystone Pipeline, existing and proposed sections (Click to expand)
Green groups say building the pipeline will speed up extraction of oil from the tar sands - a process that consumes more energy than regular drilling.
 
Canada has long promised to unveil rules on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands. Obama said last July that Canada could be doing more to curb emissions, which some Canadian politicians took as a hint that he wanted to see the new rules before making a decision on Keystone XL.
 
Baird's comments made it clear this would not be the case.  Harper told the Global News television network last month that he was prepared to work with the United States on a joint regulatory regime to cut emissions and hoped this could be done “over the next couple of years”.
 
A poll by Nanos Research this week said support for the pipeline in Canada had slipped. It said 47.5 percent of Canadians had a positive or somewhat positive impression of the project, compared with 60.1 percent in April 2013.
 
Canadian-born rock star Neil Young this week played a series of concerts to raise money for an aboriginal group which is trying to prevent the expansion of the oil sands.
 
Baird, who is due to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, said that if Keystone XL were approved, less oil would have to be shipped by rail.
 
A train carrying crude derailed in eastern Canada earlier this week. On Dec. 30, an oil train hit a derailed car from a grain train in a fiery crash in North Dakota. Earlier in the year, 47 people died in Quebec when a train pulling oil tanker cars derailed and exploded in the small town of Lac-Megantic.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.