UPDATE 2-Canada still betting the U.S. will approve Keystone XL
(Adds finance minister's comments, background)
By Euan Rocha
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, April 25 (Reuters) - Canada remains confident Washington will ultimately approve the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast, two prominent cabinet ministers said on Friday, adding that the latest U.S. delay is political and not based on environmental concerns.
In his first public remarks on the controversial project, the country's new energy minister, Greg Rickford, said he hoped the Obama administration will "depoliticize" its decision on Keystone XL and give it the green light.
"On the Keystone, we're still very hopeful ... that this will go ahead sooner rather than later, and it will simply add to the economic benefits of pipeline transmission of energy products," Rickford told reporters after a speech in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga on Friday.
"Obviously we hope sooner rather than later that this is depoliticized, if you will, and that the communities along the pipeline, which include Canada and the United States, can reap the tremendous economic benefits of Keystone," he said.
Rickford was reacting to Washington's move last week to further delay a decision on whether to approve TransCanada Corp's $5.4 billion Keystone XL project, which would transport crude from the Alberta oil sands and northern U.S. states to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
No U.S. decision on the proposed pipeline is now likely until after the midterm elections in November.
By linking to refiners in the Gulf Coast, the 1,200-mile (1,900-km) pipeline would provide a boost to the oil sands of the western province of Alberta, where heavy oil is abundant but requires the burning vast amounts of fossil fuels to extract. Continued...