Redford welcomes prominent U.S. Keystone pipeline backers

By Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald October 10, 2013

With a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline still in limbo, Alberta Premier Alison Redford welcomed news that more than 160 prominent United States business leaders are pressing the Obama administration to approve the controversial project.

On Tuesday, the business executives — representing companies such as AT&T Inc., Bayer AG, Boeing Co., General Electric and ExxonMobil Corp. — sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing support for the pipeline.

The project by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would move crude oil from northern Alberta down to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and is expected to help improve prices for Alberta oilsands.

“Approving this investment will send a powerful signal of this administration’s commitment to getting America back to work,” the letter from the business leaders states.

“We urge you to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to signal to the world that the necessary ingredients for a strengthened U.S. recovery are in place and bolster the foundations of U.S. competitiveness and energy security.”

In Alberta, Redford called Keystone an important project that will help improve prices for Alberta petroleum producers and create jobs.

The letter from the business executives “speaks to many of the same points that our government, the federal government and other premiers of all political stripes have raised with American decision-makers on this important project,” she said in a statement.

“We know that this project is of pivotal importance for our economies on both sides of the border and will provide needed jobs for Canadians and Americans.”

A decision by the president on whether to approve the project has likely been pushed into 2014, and the pipeline has become a political lightning rod south of the border.

Environmental groups have roundly criticized the project, while celebrity activists such as rock star Neil Young and actor Robert Redford have targeted Keystone and Alberta’s oilsands, saying such developments are “killing our planet.”

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