Harper Says Canada Wants U.S. Cooperation on Oil Rules

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his government would prefer to act in tandem with the U.S. to cut carbon emissions in the energy industry.

“Our government is certainly prepared to work with the United States on a regulatory regime that will bring our emissions down,” Harper said in an interview with Global News today, according to a transcript provided by the television network. “This would be best done if we could do this in concert with our major trading partner, given as I say it is a seamless industry in North America.”

Canada hopes to implement such a regime “over the next couple of years,” he said.

Harper’s comments come amid a U.S. review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would link Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The State Department is preparing a final version of an environmental assessment that will evaluate whether the conduit would add to greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.

Obama said in June that he wouldn’t approve the project if it significantly exacerbated the “problem of carbon pollution.” While Canada has imposed regulations to cut emissions by operations such as coal-fired power plants, it has yet to do so for crude and natural gas producers.

Harper also said in the interview his government hoped to reduce debt and introduce tax breaks that help middle-class families.

“We want to make sure our debt levels continue to come down over the next few years,” he said. “They’re not at any kind of crisis now but it’s just another part of securing a long run fiscal advantage.”