Kerry Says Don’t Rush U.S. on Keystone Amid Complaints

Secretary of State John Kerry said the environmental analysis on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline isn’t complete and vowed not to rush even as Canadian officials said the process has dragged on too long and demanded a decision.

“I can promise our friends in Canada that all the appropriate effort is being put into trying to get this done effectively and rapidly and my hope is that before long that analysis will be available,” Kerry said today at a news conference at the State Department with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

Canadian officials have complained publicly in recent days about the more than five-year-long review of the $5.4 billion project. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday the U.S. decision to seek more comment on the next phase of the review suggests President Barack Obama’s administration may further delay a decision.

“How much consultation do you need to do?” Harper said in the interview with Bloomberg News in his Ottawa office. “It’s clearly another punt.”

TransCanada Corp. (TRP) wants to build the pipeline across six states to carry heavy crude from Alberta to U.S. refineries along the Gulf of of Mexico. Environmentalists oppose the project because they say it will worsen climate change by encouraging the development of a carbon-heavy crude.

“The challenges for Keystone are challenges of timing,” Harper said. “The current administration continues to delay the decision.”

Kerry said today the U.S. would take the time necessary to reach a decision on the project, citing questions raised during an initial public comment period last year. Those questions required answers, he said.

Effectively, Rapidly

“An analysis will be made with respect to the national interest ultimately and we’re just not at that point yet. I haven’t received it,” Kerry said.

The U.S. State Department will give the public a second opportunity to comment on the project after the environmental impact review is complete, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity this week. The agency hasn’t said how long it would accept public comments and said it could delay a decision on the pipeline.

“The time for Keystone is now,” Baird said yesterday in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. “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 he and Kerry would discuss Keystone in talks later today in Washington.

‘Short Order’

“Obviously, this is a tremendously important project for the future prosperity of the Canadian economy,” Baird said.

“We hope the final State Department report is out in short order and that the administration will be in a position to make a positive decision,” he said.

Canadian officials said the pipeline is good for both nations.

“This is a great project for the future economic prosperity of Canada; it’s a great project; it will create a lot of jobs here in the United States; it’s a great project that will increase the energy security of our closest friend and ally, and we obviously want to see and look forward to a positive decision to energy security and a positive decision to job creation,” Baird said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.