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Keystone approval linked to emissions: Obama

Jun 26, 2013 | 04:16 PM |

Tags  President Obama, Keystone XL, carbon emissions, TransCanada, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — The potential impact of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline on the nation’s carbon emissions will be critical to the project’s approval, President Obama said during a recent address on climate change at Georgetown University.

"Allowing the Keystone (XL) pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution," he said. "The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."

The State Department "is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal," Obama said.

The department needs to issue a final supplemental environmental impact statement before consulting with other governmental agencies for 90 days, after which a decision on the project’s presidential permit application is expected (, April 26).

A spokesman for Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada said that the company was "pleased" with Obama’s comments as "the almost five-year review of the project has already repeatedly found that these criteria are satisfied."

Building the pipeline would alleviate the need to move Alberta crude to market "by truck, rail and tanker, which will significantly add to global greenhouse gas emissions," and will help "displace heavier crudes from the Middle East, Mexico and Venezuela" with Canadian oil, he said, noting that it also would be the safest transport option.

While laying out his views on Keystone XL, Obama touted the benefits of natural gas. "We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions," he said. "The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It’s lowering many families’ heat and power bills."

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