Landrieu, Canadian officials tout Keystone pipeline

Sen. Mary Landrieu joined Wednesday with the Canadian foreign affairs minister and Canadian ambassador to the U.S. to urge approval of the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas.

The State Department is nearing completion of a final environmental review of the project, which Landrieu said should come in “just a few weeks.” She said President Barack Obama should make an “overdue” decision soon.

The White House is waiting on “the science,” she said.

Landrieu, D-La., is in line in the next couple of months or so to take over as chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The anticipated move is part of her re-election argument that it gives the pro-oil-and-gas Democrat more influence.

Her critics instead paint her as hypocritical on energy because she financially supports Democratic colleagues who are not as supportive of Big Oil.

Landrieu has been one of the most vocal Democrats pushing for approval of the Keystone pipeline.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer praised Landrieu’s support in the assertion that the pipeline is more environmentally friendly than continuing to transport the oil from tar sands in more dangerous trucks and trains.

“We think this (Keystone) is a more safe and secure way to move a resource that we need,” Landrieu said, touting U.S. energy independence and jobs creation. “This (tar sand) resource is going to get moved one way or the other.”

Baird said Canada is still taking progressive environmental actions.

“Canada has matched President Obama’s commitments (on greenhouse gas emissions),” Baird said. He said the nation has largely moved away from using “dirty coal.”

“This (Keystone project) is good for the president (Obama), this is good for the American economy, this is good for American energy security,” Baird said.

Landrieu would not criticize the president, but she said the Keystone decision is long past due and that she is continuing to urge its support with Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Doer said he expects the final State Department report will recognize that pipeline transportation is safer than using highways or railways.

“There’s no scientific question about that,” Landrieu added. “I think we know what the answer is going to be.”

Baird said he expects the report will come soon after Obama’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 28.

“The process is naturally coming to a conclusion, so there’s not much reason to hold it up,” Baird said. “Decision time will soon be upon us.”