NEW YORK—Former Conservative cabinet minister Jim Prentice says the Keystone XL oil pipeline is in the U.S. national interest and that President Barack Obama should approve it.
In a speech to the Financial Times Forum in New York, the CIBC executive stressed the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship and said the two countries must work together to achieve North American energy independence.
A draft environmental report into the $5.3-billion pipeline released by the U.S. State Department earlier this month flagged no major environmental concerns with the project and said it was unlikely to speed up the pace of oilsands development.
It will be a few more months before Obama decides whether to sign off on the controversial project, which would deliver 830,000 barrels per day of mostly oilsands crude to U.S. markets.
Prentice, who handled the environment and industry portfolios when he was in government, says refusing Keystone XL would move North America away from energy security.
He says U.S. and Canadian oil producers would be forced to ship their crude by less efficient means, such as rail, and a rejection would provide an artificial competitive advantage to crudes from less democratic and market-oriented countries.