WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu had some good news on Thursday for advocates of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, suggesting it will ultimately get the go-ahead.
Canada’s close ties to the U.S. may help the pipeline win approval from the Obama administration, he said in an interview airing later this month.
Importing oil from Canada “is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil,” Chu told an energy program that airs on Bloomberg Television.
The controversial $7 billion project “is not perfect, but it’s a trade-off,” he said.
Those are oft-repeated Obama administration talking points on Keystone XL, which would carry millions of barrels of Alberta oilsands crude through six states to refineries in Texas.
Chu’s remarks come amid a two-week civil disobedience campaign outside the White House by environmental activists. Hundreds of people have been arrested in the protest as they aim to convince U.S. President Barack Obama to block the pipeline, saying it’s an environmental disaster waiting to happen.
First Nations people from the U.S. and Canada will be outside the White House on Friday to risk arrest.
The U.S. State Department released its final environmental assessment of the pipeline last week, saying it posed minimal risks to the states it will traverse. Now the Obama administration has until the end of the year to determine whether the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest.
Proponents of the pipeline say it will create thousands of much-needed jobs and help end U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern Oil.
The State Department also said last week that blocking the pipeline will not reduce oilsands production, and added it was working with Canadian officials to ensure the oilsands became a cleaner source of energy.