As it girds for presidential veto of congressional legislation that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas, the Harper government today released a diplomatic letter that shows a rising level of tension between Ottawa and Washington.
In a tersely worded letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of “significant distortion and omission” in its recent analysis of the climate impacts of the pipeline.
He said the EPA “chose to ignore” climate change commitments made by Canada, and picked and chose studies and data to paint the oil sands in the worst light possible. He also accused the agency of using data from “before iPhones were invented.”
The letter comes as the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation this afternoon that would approve the pipeline without awaiting the conclusions of the administration’s lengthy review process. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will veto it.
The EPA is one of several federal agencies that are required by law to weigh in on the pipeline as part of the State Department review process. The State Department had concluded in January that the pipeline would not significantly exacerbate greenhouse-gas emissions because oil sands producers would ship oil to U.S. refineries by rail car. But a more recent letter said that low oil prices make such shipments less economical, and the pipeline could have the effect of increasing oil sands production and accompanying emissions.