The Keystone XL pipeline is an important issue in Nebraska, but it also is viewed as important in Canada.
It’s easy to see the importance of the pipeline to Canada’s economy by the mere presence in Nebraska of Canadian Consul General Martin Loken, who tells us he understands the concern expressed by many Nebraska residents.
“I think Nebraskans are, obviously, sensible folks and want to be assured that this project is going to be safe,” Loken says. “So, what we’re seeing is a rigorous process that State Department and other U. S. government agencies have been leading over the last three years.”
Loken sees the controversy over TransCanada’s plans to be an opportunity to remind everyone just how deep a relationship Canada has with the United States as well as with Nebraska. Loken points out Canada is the biggest customer for Nebraska goods, from agriculture equipment to beef. Last year, Canada imported $1 ½ billion in goods from Nebraska. Loken says imports from Nebraska are up more than 17% so far this year in Canada.
TransCanada’s proposal is important to the Canadian economy, because the pipeline would allow the country to export crude oil made from the tar sands of western Canada. The $7 billion pipeline would be approximately 1,700 miles long, stretching from Alberta, Canada to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.