Clinton quiet on cross-border pipeline proposal
U.S. Secretary of State 'generally supportive' of more oil from Canada
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she generally supports getting more oil from Canada, but would not comment on whether she approves of a controversial cross-border pipeline proposal.
The Keystone XL pipeline, backed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., would send oil from Alberta to Texas.
Speaking at a Senate appropriations committee meeting on Wednesday, Clinton said she was aware of the proposal, but would not comment on whether the U.S. State Department would approve the plan.
"Since my department bears the ultimate responsibility for making a recommendation on the pipeline, I am not able at this time to express an opinion," she said in response to a question from South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has spoken out in favour of importing more oil from Canada.
Clinton said she is "generally supportive of receiving more oil from Canada," but added she is "absolutely supportive" of doing more with energy efficiency and renewable energy in the U.S.
Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert said he hopes the U.S. government will approve the project.
"We hope ... the awareness and the positive comments turn into actual action," he said.
But Jennifer Grant, the oilsands program director at the Pembina Institute, an environmental organization, said the debate over the oilsands and the Keystone pipeline is far from over in the U.S.
"There's clear signals that the U.S. is investing heavily in the clean energy economy and they are conscious of the mismanagement issues in Alberta," she said.
Several major U.S. environmental groups have spoken out against the pipeline project, citing concerns about possible spills and a growing reliance on "dirty" crude from the oilsands.
The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the Canada-U.S. border. Canadian approvals are already in place.
The first phase of the project, which delivers crude to refineries in the Midwest and a storage hub in Cushing, Okla., is already in operation.