Harper appears to endorse Northern Gateway in TV interview

Energy Politics

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Prime Minister Stephen Harper strongly endorsed the bitumen pipeline from Alberta to Texas, the controversial Keystone XL project and then went on to apparently push for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project by saying “there is all the more reason why Canada should look at trade diversification and particularly diversification of energy exports.”

In the interview with the business news service Harper said U.S. approval of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline is a

 “no-brainer” because it will create jobs and add to America’s secure energy reserves.

“The need for energy in the U.S. is enormous, the alternatives for the U.S. are not good, on every level,”

Harper said he’s “confident” the pipeline will be built.

Keystone would link Canada’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The 2,673-kilometer pipeline would begin in Hardisty, Alberta, and cross Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The alternatives for the United States are not good. And, you know, on every level, not just economic (but) political, social, even environmental, the case is very strong for this…”The fact that there are these kinds of pressures to, you know, to potentially take decisions which would, in my judgment . . . to avoid a decision would be a complete no-brainer.”

Shawn McCarty of The Globe and Mail interprets Harper’s statement this way:

the federal government has broadly endorsed the oil industry’s efforts to build new pipelines to the West Coast to open up new markets in Asia.

The National Energy Board is reviewing plans for a natural gas pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., and a plant to liquefy the gas so it can be exported via tanker.

The NEB and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency are holding a joint review of Enbridge Inc.’s more controversial Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the coast. The Gateway project is opposed by environmental groups and first nations, whose traditional lands would be affected.

Harper has now added his voice to cabinet ministers Joe Oliver and James Moore in pushing for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which once again raises the question, why have the Joint Review Panel since it appears the decision to go ahead has already been made?

Related Link Vancouver Sun U.S. approval of Keystone a ‘no-brainer’: Harper