By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 27, 2013
Obama muddies the debate on Keystone Pipeline
Observers are trying to figure out just what President Barack Obama is signalling when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, but some still expect it will get the go-ahead.
What the president said yesterday is that the massive project will be approved only if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
What he meant depends on who you listen to, given that supporters and opponents alike said they were buoyed by his comments on the proposed pipeline, which would carry some one million barrels a day of Alberta crude to the Gulf coast.
Which suggests, of course, that the situation remains as confused as it ever was.
“In short, the speech raised more questions than it answered about a piece of infrastructure that is undoubtedly of tremendous importance to the Canadian economy and to ongoing U.S. energy policy – and one whose future is still a matter of public policy debate in the U.S.,” said economists Derek Holt and Dov Zigler of Bank of Nova Scotia.
As The Globe and Mail’s Paul Koring and Steven Chase report, Keystone XL figured prominently as the president unveiled his climate change policy in Washington.
A decision on the TransCanada Corp. project is expected later this year. It has already been rejected once, forcing the Canadian company to change the planned route to skirt an environmentally sensitive region in Nebraska.
Analysts say the project is crucial for Canada amid stubborn pipeline constraints. Economists at CIBC World Markets calculate that Canada would lose out on a potential $50-billion over a three-year period because of those troubles. (Source: The Globe & Mail)