Officials are looking at a newly released document as a major step forward in the process for a $7.6 billion pipeline to be constructed between Alberta and Texas.
The new document from the U.S. State Department says the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t pose any bigger risk to the environment than moving oil in other ways.
The pipeline, which was proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada corporation, would carry Alberta crude oil and bitumen to refineries across the United States, including Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.
It is seen by some as one of the most important U.S. policy decisions affecting Canada in decades, and Alberta premier Alison Redford is pleased with the latest document.
“We believe that people involved in this have listened to what we have said in respect to our environmental record in Alberta,” Redford said.
Russ Girling, the CEO of TransCanada, says he’s optimistic the project will receive final approval later this year.
“I think we have addressed every issue that anyone has raised,” Girling said.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is more cautious, however.
“We’ve received the report and we are reviewing it, the United States has a process for reviewing the project, and we respect that process,” Oliver said.
The pipeline could be completed by 2014 or 2015 if it is approved soon, according to Girling.
“The pipeline is by far the safest and most efficient way to transport oil to markets,” Girling said.
While the document was quite positive toward the pipeline, it also said the project will not affect Alberta’s oilsands development whether it is approved or not.
It also cast doubt on whether the line would meet the energy needs of Americans.
The U.S. Government is now inviting public input on the project, but U.S. President Barack Obama will make the final decision.