A group of Republicans is pressing Canada’s government to keep advocating for the Keystone XL oil pipeline despite President Obama's rejection of the project.
Freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) is asking his colleagues to sign a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to hold off on any efforts to stop Keystone, reroute it away from the United States or otherwise change it.Instead, Canada and TransCanada Corp. should wait until 2017, when a new president takes office who might be more willing to approve Keystone, the Republicans say.
“After President Obama leaves office, decisions such as approval of the Keystone XL pipeline will fall upon his successor,” the Republicans write in the letter, obtained by The Hill. “Simply put, if the American people choose a president who supports building Keystone XL, that president can reverse this misguided decision and authorize the project the day he or she takes office."
They ask that Trudeau “hold off on authorizing any contingency plans for Keystone XL until the end of next year. By that time, it will be clear where our president-elect stands on this critical issue, and, we hope, the plans to build Keystone XL right here in America will be back on track.”
Reps. John Fleming (R-La.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) have signed onto the letter so far, though Babin is waiting a week for any other members to jump on board before sending it to Ottawa.
The letter shows that the GOP still has hopes for Keystone even after Obama’s Friday decision to block the pipeline’s permit to cross the border into the United States, where it was planned to connect Canada’s oil sands with refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Beyond trying to keep Keystone alive the letter serves to show Canada that the legislative branch supports the pipeline.
The option of waiting on the next president was raised before Obama's decision.
Days before Obama’s decision, TransCanada asked the State Department to pause its application process, a move that would almost certainly have put the final say into the hands of the next president.
All of the Republicans running for president say they would quickly approve Keystone, and all Democratic candidates oppose it.
Trudeau and his Liberal Party, meanwhile, support Keystone and were disappointed by Obama’s rejection. But Trudeau has criticized his predecessor Stephen Harper for putting so much energy into advocating for Keystone, to the degree that it frayed United States-Canada relations.
“The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and cooperation,” said Trudeau, who started his term Nov. 4.