Business and political leaders lauded the U.S. government’s approval of the much-anticipated Keystone XL pipeline.
The 1,900-km link goes from Hardisty, Alta. to Nebraska, where it ties into the existing Keystone pipeline that goes to Gulf Coast refineries.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval overturns a 2015 decision against the pipeline. However, before the first welds are made, there will be legal challenges to overcome and state approvals to line up.
Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce applauded Friday’s announcement.
“The Keystone XL will be an important step in alleviating the transportation constraint and closing the price differential, allowing Canadian producers to get the maximum value for their product — something especially important as we appear to be stuck with low energy prices for the foreseeable future,” says Reg Warkentin, chamber policy and advocacy manager.
“We hope construction starts soon. It’ll be a huge undertaking and put thousands of Canadians to work.”
Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen agreed the announcement is good news.
“It’s just great that it is now ready to roll and they’ve been able to re-start the process,” said Dreeshen.
“We’re excited about that but we still have to remain vigilant to make sure that Canada’s interests are protected.
“Certainly it’s going to create jobs in Canada and strengthen energy security in North America.”
Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller called the announcement “great news.
“Central Alberta will benefit from the 6,000 construction jobs this will create and it’s another sign that things are improving for this province.”
Miller said while the pipeline news is positive getting a Canadian pipeline to tidewater remains the “best way to sell our oil at better prices in new global markets.
“That’s why we worked tirelessly to secure approval on the TransMountain Pipeline and we’ll continue to stand up for Alberta to get shovels in the ground,” she said in a statement on Friday.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) says the approval is a “major step” for Canadian, U.S. and North American energy security.
“The Canadian oil and natural gas industry has been facing challenges to maintain competiveness at home and abroad, but pipeline approvals such as the KXL approval today, advance opportunities to make Canada an attractive place for investment,” said CAPP spokesperson Chelsie Klassen in a statement.
“This announcement means responsibly produced Canadian oil will have access to more markets, which means Canadians will be getting better value for their resources.”