Nobel peace prize winners won’t give Keystone a chance

TransCanada’s bid to build the Keystone XL pipeline is facing growing high-profile opposition, drawing fire from the Dalai Lama (pictured), Archbishop Desmond Tutu and seven other Nobel Peace Prize laureates on Wednesday who are following in the footsteps of a raft of Hollywood celebrities and green activists.

The laureates, only one of whom is North American, insist the project will “endanger the entire planet” and urged US President Barack Obama not to approve construction of the $7 billion, 3,190km Keystone XL pipeline that could carry up to 700,000 barrels per day of Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast.

Keystone would help Canada move closer to the international benchmark for crude instead of US pricing which trades at a discount of more than $20/barrel. Canada currently pumps 2 million barrels per day to the US, with more than half coming from the oil sands.

The Globe and Mail reports TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said the Nobel laureates have allowed themselves to be used by “professional activists.” “There are all kinds of games and stunts that are going to be played until a decision is made, and likely afterwards,” Mr. Howard said.

MINING.com reported last week Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he can’t imagine the Obama administration rejecting the proposed Keystone XL oilsands pipeline, arguing the final decision should be a “complete no-brainer.”

Earlier TransCanada (TSX:TRP) CEO Russ Girling told the EnergyNow program Keystone XL is “absolutely” going to happen and quoted US Energy Secretary Steven Chu as saying “having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil.”

The oil sands industry feeding Keystone XL has tripled in size since 1995 and the US government estimates that Canada may double its current output of heavy crude by the end of this decade. A final decision on Keystone XL by US President Obama is expected before the end of the year.

Image by Darko Sikman / Shutterstock.com shows Dalai Lama cooling off with a tissue during an event at Kumbh Mela festival April 3, 2010 in Haridwar, India.

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