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When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Feb. 8 to discuss the Keystone XL oil pipeline, he said that he would stick to a “very open and transparent” permitting process for the pipeline, and that he hopes to make an announcement near term. Baird has said in the past that he hopes to see the pipeline approved by mid-year.

The Keystone XL pipeline permit, a State Department matter because it crosses an international boundary, has become controversial because of environmental concerns about possible leaks and high greenhouse gas emissions linked to production from Canada’s oil sands, which would mostly supply the pipeline.

President Obama rejected a proposal last year after Congress had forced a decision before the State Department’s assessment process was completed. Obama invited a new application from Calgary-based TransCanada, postponing the contested decision until after the 2012 elections.

The State Department will soon release a new environmental impact statement, based on Trans-Canada’s revised application. That will trigger a several-week period for public comments and responses.

Baird told the Washington Post that pipeline was important to both nations. “Jobs are important for both our people, and frankly energy security is pretty important,” he said. “This oil is going to be extracted. It could go immediately by rail car to the west coast of Canada. .?.?. We obviously have this great natural resource that we are most keen to share with our closest friend and ally.”

Posted in: Government News
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