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Canadian Official Urges U.S. to Make a Decision on Project

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Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says it’s time for the United States to end the “state of limbo” regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. In a Jan. 16 speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Baird urged the government to come to a decision, regardless of whether for or against the project.

“Canada and the U.S. have the largest and most integrated energy relationship in the world,” he said. “Canada is, by a country mile, the single largest supplier of oil, natural gas and electricity to the U.S.

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“The U.S. could become net North American self-sufficient in its oil requirements in about a decade. But to achieve this, new infrastructure will have to be built.”

Citing U.S. State Department’s findings, Baird said that building the Keystone XL pipeline would pose no significant environmental impact, heavy oil from western Canada would displace offshore imports from other markets, and the pipeline would reduce the amount of crude shipped to the Gulf Coast by rail.

“Compared to sending by pipelines, sending by rail results in elevated greenhouse gas emissions and a considerably higher per-mile incident rate,” he said.

Baird argued that the logic for building the pipeline was overwhelming “when you combine our commitment to the highest environmental standards with the thousands of jobs and economic growth that would be created on both sides of the border.” He urged a decision on the project, noting the importance of the pipeline to U.S. energy security and to the U.S. and Canadian economies.

“The time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it’s not the right one,” he said. “We can’t continue in this state of limbo.”

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