Canada’s Baird Calls for U.S. to End Keystone ’Limbo’

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird called on the U.S. to end the “state of limbo” over the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The time for Keystone is now,” Baird said today 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.”

Canada is counting on TransCanada Corp.’s $5.4 billion project to connect its vast reserves of crude oil to the world’s largest refining center along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline would help oil-sands developers reach their goal of doubling production by 2025 and raise the prices they are paid for the fuel.

The U.S. State Department is preparing a final version of an environmental review that will assess whether Keystone, which has been opposed by environmentalists, would contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet. Baird said he hopes the review will be published in the coming weeks.

President Barack Obama said in June he wouldn’t approve the project if it significantly worsened carbon pollution.

“U.S. energy independence is too important,” Baird said in his speech, to explain why a decision on the pipeline is needed. “The environment is too important. Our economies are too important.”

Baird, who meets with his U.S. and Mexican counterparts tomorrow, said Keystone is still the top Canadian energy priority with the U.S., and said his government is working hard to persuade Obama to approve the project.

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