“Yes. We do,” said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, when asked whether the Liberals want the TransCanada Keystone pipeline built. “We supported the application in the first place. It’s up to the company to determine whether it wants to proceed.”
It’s also up to the incoming administration of president-elect Donald Trump. While on the campaign trail, Trump vowed to approve the pipeline proposal that would haul oil from
Alberta through Montana and the Sandhills in Nebraska, eventually delivering oil to refineries in Illinois and Texas.
Days after the November election that is sending Trump to the White House, the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, told reporters he asked the president-elect to move swiftly in approving construction of Keystone.
Last November, President Barack Obama had vetoed legislation that would have moved ahead with construction of the pipeline projected to carry 800,000 barrels a day of crude from Canada and North Dakota to Nebraska, where existing pipelines would bring the oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
The president said the project was not in the U.S. national interest.
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Environmentalists had opposed the project, but the prospect of an all-Republican government next year boosts the chances for Keystone.
Since winning, Trump has reiterated his support for the project, saying it’s one of the top items on his to-do list once he takes office in January.
In response, TransCanada has filed for NAFTA arbitration and is seeking $15 billion in damages, claiming the rejection was arbitrary and politically driven.
While in opposition, the Trudeau and the Liberals supported the Keystone pipeline proposal.
Recently, the official Opposition interim leader Rona Ambrose has been pressuring Trudeau and his cabinet to move quickly on the project and seize on Trump’s support.
The Liberals have consistently said the ball is in TransCanada Inc.’s court.
Last week, Trudeau announced his government’s approval for two major pipeline expansion projects – Enbridge’s Line 3 and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain.
Together, the lines will move an additional 1.25 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press