Russ Girling says in his view, framing the argument that way is unfair.
He says environmental activists have also "concocted a story" that the oilsands are the largest carbon bomb on Earth and that the $5.4-billion pipeline would amount to a fuse.
Girling joked that he's even had to assure his own mother — a fan of actor Robert Redford, who is also a vocal pipeline opponent — that he's not out to "blow up the planet."
TransCanada applied to the U.S. State Department for a permit to build Keystone XL more than five years ago and a decision is expected some time next year.
Girling made his remarks at a business forum in Lake Louise, Alta., hosted by law firm Bennett Jones.
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