WASHINGTON – The U.S. government won’t be rushed in making a decision on the long-delayed Keystone pipeline, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.
At a news conference following meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade, Kerry said there’s a process that must be followed in the pipeline decision.
“We are currently engaged in the environmental impact statement analysis,” Kerry said. “An analysis will be made with respect to the national interest ultimately and we’re just not at that point yet .. they haven’t finished it.”
Baird spent the last three days in Washington pushing for a decision because he says the industry can’t be left in limbo.
Kerry said the initial pipeline proposal prompted a lot of reaction from the public, which must be considered.
“Those comments have necessitated appropriate answers,” he said. “The public has a role in this.
“I can promise our friends in Canada that all the appropriate effort is being put into trying to get this done effectively and rapidly. My hope is before long that analysis will be available and then my work begin.”
Baird said Keystone is important for Canadian economic prosperity, but also offers Americans a lot of jobs and increased energy security.
“We obviously want to see and look forward to a positive decision,” Baird said.
The Obama administration will have to make the final decision on whether to allow the Alberta pipeline to enter the U.S., collect more oil in North Dakota, and carry it to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
The three foreign ministers said their meetings were fruitful and they came up with some specific items to work on ahead of a trilateral meeting among their respective leaders in February.
The three pronounced themselves pleased with the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement and said there is no need to tinker with it to accommodate other trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA per se in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve,” Kerry said.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations which all thee of us are in, offer us the opportunity to strengthen the trilateral partnership and we’re keen to use that opportunity to do so,” Baird added.