Reports that President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager will tour Canadian oil sands production sites suggests the incoming administration may make approving the Keystone XL pipeline a major priority.
Kellyanne Conway will visit Fort McMurray, Alberta for an oil sands tour before speaking at a fundraiser hosted by conservative super-PAC Alberta Prosperity Fund. Conway’s visit to Alberta is set to take place just days before Trump’s inauguration.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway will tour Canada oil sands, according to a conservative Canadian super PAC organizing visit, per @drajem.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 29, 2016
Conway’s visit is also fueling speculation that Trump will move quickly to revive the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which was rejected by the Obama administration in 2015 after being slowly reviewed by the Department of State for about seven years.
“Ms. Conway is a very influential member of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and someone that I personally admire as a woman in politics,” APF’s Heather Forsyth said in a news release obtained by CBC News.
Conway will be paid an undisclosed sum for the speech, CBC News reports, but the tour was initiated by her office, not by APF.
“Her visit to Alberta at this time should send a strong signal to Canadians on the importance of this province to the United States,” Forsyth said.
Trump’s transition team is reportedly discussing ways to approve the Keystone XL pipeline once he takes office. Trump’s plan revolves around rescinding a 1968 executive order giving the State Department the power to authorize cross-border oil pipelines, sources told Bloomberg’s Jennifer Dlouhy.
The State Department took seven years to determine Keystone XL is not in the “national interest” — a process that was criticized by lawmakers and the oil industry as being politically motivated and influenced by environmental activists.
Trump could rescind the order once he gets into office, meaning that Keystone XL would only need to go through and environmental review.
Interestingly enough, the State Department’s environmental review of the 1,200-mile pipeline found the project would have little or no impact on water quality and carbon dioxide emissions.
But President Obama rejected the pipeline as not in the “national interest” in 2015 because it would tarnish America’s reputation as a leader in the fight against global warming.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports the pipeline, and will probably approve the project since it is mostly complete — except for the cross-border portion.
TransCanada, the company building the project, filed a $15 billion suit against the Obama administration under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
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