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In stark contrast to the continuing delay of the Keystone XL pipeline project, Trans Canada’s Northern Courier pipeline project has gone from initial application to regulatory approval in a mere 16 months.

The Northern Courier project is actually two parallel pipelines, one to carry bitumen and another to carry diluent from the Fort Hills mine area to the Suncor tank farm north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

While clearly on a smaller scale than Keystone XL, (Northern Courier is about 90 kilometers in length compared to Keystone’s nearly 1,900 kilometer length) the speed with which Alberta’s Energy Resource Conservation Board completed the rigorous stakeholder outreach, environmental regulation compliance and mitigation process, was astonishingly efficient. After more than five years, the Keystone XL project is still under review, raising suspicion over the American political antics delaying the pipeline.

The original Keystone pipeline – nearly 3,500 kilometers in length – went from initial application to completion just over five years.

Conversely, Keystone XL, a mere extension project, has undergone five environmental reviews over six years, and is still under scrutiny.

The political and regulatory uncertainties surrounding the process going forward is compounding the length of the delay. Decision makers in Washington have sidestepped all decision deadlines, leaving the fate of KXL inexplicable.

Poll after poll shows a large majority support for Keystone XL as well as bi-partisan support in both houses of Congress. In fact, many politicians facing tough elections in November are expressing support for the project, as it becomes a focal point of elections across the country.

It is time to do what is best for America by following Canada’s lead; examining projects based on their own merit and eliminating the politics. It is time to approve Keystone XL.

See the article at Fuel Fix.