Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska March 10, 2014.

Lane Hickenbottom/Reuters

TransCanada Corp. is making another pitch to the Obama administration for approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, citing, among other things, the tougher carbon-emission regulations imposed by Alberta's New Democratic government.

The Calgary-based pipeline company has been waiting for a decision for the past five months – since the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the state's approval of the current route. It has been almost18 months since the U.S. State Department completed its final environmental impact statement, which concluded the project would not drive up greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – a conclusion that has been challenged by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a letter released Tuesday, TransCanada noted recent developments that it says demonstrate Canada is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and further prove that the construction of the pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast would not "significantly exacerbate" climate change, the test laid down by President Barack Obama.

Story continues below advertisement

It pointed to Alberta's decision last week to impose stricter emission standards on the sector. The new NDP government amended existing regulations to require large industrial polluters such as those in the oil sands to cut per-barrel emissions by 20 per cent from 2005 levels – up from 12 per cent. The government also increased the levy from $15 to $30 a tonne of GHG emissions in excess of the regulated limit.

In announcing those changes and plans for a broader climate strategy, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips suggested Alberta would improve market access for its oil producers – that is, win support for new pipelines – by adopting more aggressive environmental policies.

TransCanada also cited the federal government's pledge – filed with the United Nations last month – to reduce GHGs by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, as well as the Group of Seven leaders' commitment to pursue "deep decarbonization" over the course of the century and reduce GHGs by 40 per cent to 70 per cent from 2010 levels by 2050.

"Clearly recent Canadian, North American and international GHG policy developments are consistent with President Obama's stance on not exacerbating the risk of climate change," TransCanada vice-president Alex Pourbaix said in the letter.

"We are asking the U.S. State Department to consider these recent developments that add to the abundance of evidence already collected through seven years and 17,000 pages of review that Keystone XL will not 'significantly exacerbate' greenhouse gas emissions."

Mr. Pourbaix added that the United States will rely on oil for its transportation needs for the foreseeable future. "The United States will continue to be a net importer of crude oil for decades to come, which means that the Keystone XL pipeline and the Canadian crude oil it proposes to transport will still be needed," he said.

Obama administration spokesmen have said recently that the State Department continues to review the file and have given no indication on when a decision will be forthcoming. The Keystone XL issue has been politically charged in Washington; earlier this year, Mr. Obama was forced to veto legislation passed by the Republican-led Congress that would have approved the project.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite suggestions that tougher climate regulations will provide "social licence" for new pipelines, environmentalists rejected TransCanada's argument. The federal commitment includes no plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions in the oil sands, and the Alberta government's announcement will bring little improvement in the sector, says Erin Flanagan, an oil-sands analyst with the Calgary-based Pembina Institute.

"The crux here is that those policy announcements have not translated into real change on the ground in Alberta," Ms. Flanagan said on Tuesday. "We have not seen a significant reduction in emissions from this sector to date, so TransCanada's argument that these policy developments should green-light the project don't hold water."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies