BANFF, Alta. - Alberta's premier isn't concerned about negative comments from U.S. President Barack Obama regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.
Jim Prentice says the Republican-controlled House of Representatives' passing a bill to approve the US$8-billion pipeline that would carry bitumen from Alberta to refineries and ports in Texas is good forward momentum.
He says there is a tougher road ahead when it goes to the Senate and hopefully to the U.S. president for approval.
Obama questioned the pipeline's economic value to the U.S. economy and said he'll judge the plan on its environmental merits.
Prentice says Obama's comments are consistent with what he's said in the past and he is going to have to work with Congress for the next year.
The premier says if it comes down to environmental merits, he is confident the project will pass.
"This issue here really is whether or not Canadian oil is going to be carried to the Gulf Coast by pipeline. We know it's making its way already because it's an integrated North American marketplace," Prentice said before the start of the Progressive Conservative Party's annual convention Friday.
"A lot of it's being carried by rail so the real question is whether the president and Congress want it carried in a safe mode of transport, which is also the most efficient mode which is a pipeline."
Prentice also disputes that Keystone would only be beneficial to Canada. He said Canada and the United States have had a long history of sharing, especially when it comes to the oil and gas sector.
"We stand by the view that together with the Americans, (this is) the most integrated, successful energy marketplace in the world. This project is in the interest of both countries and I think eventually in the United States they'll reach that conclusion," he said.
Prentice has yet to announce a date for a visit to Washington, D.C., to extol the virtues of Keystone to the movers and shakers.
He remains optimistic about the growing support for Keystone.
"We're hopeful, we're optimistic. You know the growth of bipartisan support for the Keystone pipeline is really encouraging. There's momentum and the future will take care of itself."
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