The decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project is deeply disappointing.
Keystone XL would provide a safe and reliable way to ship Albertan bitumen to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The project would generate thousands of jobs in Canada and the U.S. during construction and operation.
Canada’s energy relationship with the United States is larger than a single project. However, today’s announcement appears to have been driven more by politics than by facts, especially since so many US government reviews gave the project a green light. The decision will cost Canada some 2,200 potential direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain.
President Obama’s announcement underlines the urgent need to obtain new international customers for our petroleum resources. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has long advocated constructing the pipelines and supporting infrastructure needed to get our resources to world markets. Access to tidewater ports will diversify our sales instead of relying on a sole purchaser, the United States.
The new federal government must make access to international markets for Canadian energy products a priority. Just as the U.S. would not allow itself to have only one supplier for its energy needs, we must no longer be content having only one customer.