Bill Clinton’s support to Keystone XL pipeline seen as votes-buying attempt

In a move seen as a clear attempt to build popularity, former U.S. president Bill Clinton called Americans to embrace TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, only three days after the Calgary based company announced it was going ahead with the construction of the southern leg through the States.

Speaking at the Department of Energy's conference for clean-technology start-ups, Clinton said he believes the pipeline should be approved on a new route that avoids the ecologically fragile Sand Hills region of Nebraska, reports the Vancouver Sun.

However, in its Monday announcement, TransCanada had already said it would propose an alternative route. So Clinton’s speech may be related to the latest polls in the U.S., which show substantial support from the American public to building Keystone. As gas prices continue to rise, the public’s endorsement can only grow.

Clinton also implied that TransCanada should have proposed to build the pipeline around that sensitive region in the first place, adding that the extra cost of rerouting the pipeline “is infinitesimal” compared to the revenue that will be generated over a long period of time.

His comments came only a day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Americans "deserve" the Canadian oil that Keystone XL would deliver.

TransCanada said the shortened pipeline could be operational by June-July next year.

Keystone, designed to carry 830,000 barrels per day, was to have stretched from the Canadian oil sands in Alberta via the Cushing storage hub to the Gulf refineries for more than 2,600 kilometres, but needed state department approval because it would have crossed an international border.