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Saskatchewan government 'deeply concerned' over delay in Keystone decision

REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the latest delay in a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a major blow to Canada's energy industry.

The U.S. State Department announced last week that it wants to give federal agencies more time to review the $5.4-billion proposal by Calgary-based TransCanada (TSX:TRP).

TransCanada had hoped a legal dispute over the pipeline's route in Nebraska would not further hold up a decision at the federal level.

Wall says he is deeply concerned and calls the delay a major disappointment.

He points out the pipeline has already passed the State Department’s own environmental impact assessment.

The 2,700-kilometre line would move bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

“The Keystone XL pipeline has been studied long and hard," Wall said in a release Monday. "The pipeline will create thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, offers a safe and efficient method of moving large volumes of oil, and, according to the State Department, will not contribute to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

"This delay represents a major blow to the energy industry in Saskatchewan and in Canada and will place unnecessary strain on relations with our largest trading partner.”

A portion of the Keystone pipeline would run through Saskatchewan.

Wall said approval of the Keystone project is critical to the successful transport of other commodities in his province.

“Saskatchewan grain, potash, and other commodities suffer every day the Keystone XL pipeline is not being built,” Wall said. “The United States needs to quit wavering and make a decision based on the facts, which support the construction of Keystone.

"These politically motivated decisions are hurting the Saskatchewan economy, the U.S. economy and our ability to develop new markets and support North America energy sustainability.”

The Canadian Press

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