Policy: Environment & Energy

White House dismisses Canadian plea for Keystone XL decision

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Joel Gehrke,Barack Obama,Canada,Keystone XL,Energy and Environment,Jay Carney,Oil

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird believes it's "decision time" for the Keystone XL pipeline, but White House press secretary Jay Carney disagrees.

"Once the process is moving forward we'll apprise you of that and when a decision is made, we'll announce it," President Obama's spokesman replied when asked about Baird's comments.

Baird called for Obama to sign off on the project, which was proposed in 2008. "One politician -- the president of the United States -- can say yes to a great project to create jobs on both sides of the border, help with energy independence and energy security," he said in Washington, D.C., during a Wednesday press conference.

TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, said it will export the oil by rail if Obama does not approve the pipeline for environmental reasons (even though the pipeline would be "by far a safer alternative" means of transportation than trains, according to CEO Russ Girling).

"The U.S. State Department is expected to release a final environmental impact report around the last week of January that will support the Keystone XL, bolstering the odds that President Barack Obama will approve the controversial Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline," according to the Financial Post. "Some believe the president should move quickly and avoid making Keystone a mid-term election issue. Others argue the president could take until the summer to conclude his review to demonstrate the project was carefully considered and prevent legal challenges."

If the Keystone decision-making process does extend into the midterm election season, it would likely trouble Democrats more than Republicans, as the environmentalist base of the Democratic Party opposes construction of the pipeline.

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