Top Republican pushes Trump on Keystone approval

Mitch McConnell says he made the request during a meeting with Trump in Washington on Thursday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The top Republican in the U.S. Senate says he asked president-elect Donald Trump to move swiftly in approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would allow Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. to ship bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters on Friday that he made the request during his Capitol Hill meeting with Trump a day earlier.

President Barack Obama had vetoed legislation that would have moved ahead with construction of the pipeline projected to carry 800,000 barrels a day of crude from Alberta and North Dakota to Nebraska, where existing pipelines would bring the oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

Environmentalists had opposed the project, but the prospect of an all-Republican U.S. government next year boosts the chances for Keystone.

Since Trump won the presidential election on Tuesday, some including interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose have urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to push for Keystone’s approval.

TransCanada (TSX:TRP) said earlier this week that it wants to engage with the Trump administration on Keystone’s benefits and it remains fully committed to the 1,900-kilometre pipeline.

After Obama rejected Keystone last year, TransCanada filed for NAFTA arbitration seeking $15 billion in damages, claiming the decision was arbitrary and politically driven.

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