Monday, July 19, 2010

Groups lobby State Department for approval of Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is grappling with a bid to dramatically increase the flow of carbon-heavy Canadian crude to the U.S.
TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline, if approved, will be the single largest conveyor of Alberta bitumen to the U.S. - a 2,700-kilometer, 900,000 b/d line running all the way to the refineries of Houston, with the potential to double stateside consumption of Canadian crude.
The decision on Keystone rests with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose department must approve transboundary pipelines based on considerations of “national interest.”
Canada has been lobbying on multiple fronts - including a U.S. ad campaign in which the Alberta government extols ongoing efforts to lighten its oil sands footprint. Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has written to Clinton, stressing what many oil sands supporters view as the Canadian industry’s most persuasive selling point, the fact that Canada is stable, reliable and not the Middle East.
Other lobby groups, including the oil-industry backed Consumer Energy Alliance, are stumping for Keystone, arguing that as many as 13,000 shovel-ready jobs will be created with the stroke of Clinton’s pen. The CEA calls the project a “no-brainer,” pointing to significant union backing led by the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.
Clinton’s State Department is two weeks into a 90-day countdown on the decision - but postponements are likely as other government agencies weigh in.
“There is a cautious optimism that the Keystone pipeline will go through - but perhaps not until after November’s midterm elections,” one consultant familiar with Canadian lobbying efforts in Washington told the Toronto Star.

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