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Canadian fans react as they hold Canada flags during the men Canadian fans react as they hold Canada flags during the men's quarter-finals ice hockey game between Canada and Latvia at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (RUSSIA - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT ICE HOCKEY) - RTX194SP  

Obama’s Keystone XL Delays Are Damaging U.S.-Canadian Relations

The Obama administration’s foot-dragging on the Keystone XL pipeline may be pleasing environmentalists but it’s damaging economic and political ties between the U.S. and its biggest trading partner: Canada.

The Canadian government has been lobbying the Obama administration to approve the pipeline for years now, but the White House has been bowing to environmentalist pressure instead by continually delaying its decision on the project.

“I think Keystone has hurt US-Canadian relations quite a bit,” Kenneth Green, senior director for the Center for Natural Resources at the Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Canadians are very aware that they’re being snubbed in the one market that is almost 100 percent of the market for exporting oil, but is a market ostensibly protected through NAFTA, which was put in place to specifically make sure that the US had access to Canadian oil, and now the US is basically ignoring it now when it’s convenient,” Green added. “So it seems on a number of fronts Canada is reasonably insulted by the US decision.”

The Obama administration has been reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline since 2008, more than 2100 days. Canada’s conservative-led government has been pushing hard for the pipeline to be approved in order to export oil sands from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

Republicans and some energy state Democrats have joined the Canadian government and the oil industry in lobbying for the approval of the $7 billion pipeline project, arguing that the pipeline would increase North American energy security and boost the economy.

“The jobs, economic activity, and energy security that the Keystone XL pipeline will provide are clearly in the public interest. It’s time to move forward,” said Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski last week.