Just one day after President Obama promised to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline in “a couple months,” media reports circulated a Canadian government audit that is unfavorable to the pipeline’s operator, TransCanada.
The Canadian National Energy Board’s audit of TransCanada’s “integrity management programs” found that the company failed to fully comply with “requirements in four of nine areas, including inspection and monitoring, risk assessment and operational control during ‘abnormal’ conditions,” Politico reports.
The NEB is Canada’s pipeline regulatory authority. TransCanada was already scheduled for an audit, but moved up the audit’s timeline in 2012 following a “whistle-blower complaint,” according to Politico. The pipeline regulator is also conducting separate audits of TransCanada’s “safety, environmental protection, emergency management, crossings, and public awareness programs.”
“We take our responsibilities to anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and manage any and all hazards and risks associated with our operations seriously,” said TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard. The company will have 30 days to submit a plan to correct the compliance issues.
Reports of this poor audit come the day after President Obama told the National Governors Association he would make a decision on the pipeline “in a couple months.” Not all the governors present were sure this was a good sign for the pipeline.
“We’ve heard this before,” Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal told reporters during a news conference. Other Republicans noted that the president had once said that a decision would be made by the end of 2013.
But Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry was optimistic that this meant Keystone would be approved after more than five years of waiting.
“The president is going to approve the XL pipeline,” Perry said. “Just write it down. … There is no defending not opening the XL pipeline.”
The Keystone XL pipeline will take Canadian oil sands from Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The State Department said that the pipeline would create thousands of jobs and would have little impact on the environment or global warming.
Environmentalists disagreed, arguing that the pipeline failed Obama’s “climate test” — meaning it would add significantly to U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Activists have tried to discredit the State Department’s review by saying the company hired to perform the review suffered from conflicts of interest.
“For the State Department to use a conflicted consultant and then give priority information to the oil industry and Canadian government would be completely unethical, and a huge breach of trust with Congress and the American public,” said Ross Hammond, a senior campaigner with Friends of the Earth.
But the State Department’s inspector general has not yet released any report that a conflict of interest existed between the consulting firm Environmental Resources Management and the oil and gas industry.
Despite Obama’s promise to approve in the pipeline in the coming months, the White House has offered no hard deadline for when the pipeline would be approved.
“I don’t have a conversation of the president’s to read out to you,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “What I can tell you is this process is with the State Department. There are steps in that process that have taken place. There are steps that still need to take place.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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