Justin Trudeau Supports Keystone XL, But Climate Activists Aren’t Worried

Environmental activists are sounding optimistic that Canada’s new prime minister-designate will usher in a new era of climate policy and warmer diplomatic relations with the United States — even if he has supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Justin Trudeau, who was tapped to become Canada’s new leader Monday night when his Liberal Party won a majority in Parliament, has spoken in favor of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Still, climate activists predict that the Obama administration will reject the controversial project soon and that Trudeau won’t fight that decision.

President Barack Obama “has clearly signaled that [Keystone XL] doesn’t meet his climate test, and so it doesn’t matter at this point who the Canadian prime minister is,” said Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager with Canada’s Environmental Defence. “Everybody in Canada fully expects that the project will get rejected.”

The pipeline, which environmentalists warn could lead to dangerous oil spills and increased carbon emissions, has been under lengthy review by the U.S. State Department. In February, Obama vetoed legislation that tried to end-run that process and authorize its construction.

Unlike outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Scott said, Trudeau and the Liberal Party are unlikely to put any resources behind lobbying Obama to approve Keystone.

Our previous prime minister repeatedly said he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Well, I think it’s likely the new prime minister would take no for an answer and move on and try to work on things that could be constructive between our two countries and rebuild a bit of its diplomatic relationship,” Scott said.

Trudeau indicated as much in a press conference on Tuesday, although he was vague on specifics.

“I certainly feel that Canada could have taken a different tack towards issues on energy and environment over the past 10 years. That’s certainly what I’m —> Read More