TransCanada seeks $15B on Keystone XL rejection

CALGARY, Alberta, June 26 (UPI) — TransCanada Corp. is seeking $15 billion from the United States after the Obama administration’s rejection last November of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

President Barack Obama said it was not in the “national interests” of the U.S. to become part of the project designed to carry oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. It’s a more direct route of the original pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to terminals in Cushing, Okla., and Wood River, Ill. The new pipeline would run through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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The Canadian National Energy Board approved the Keystone XL pipeline in March 2010, but the project required a presidential permit before construction.

Critics of the project pointed to breaks along the current route and potential harmful environmental impact of heavy crude oil.

Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline said it would create thousands of construction jobs.

In January, Calgary-based TransCanada said it planned to recover costs through arbitration. The claim was filed Friday under North American Free Trade Agreement provision.

The company said the project has been bogged down with multiple rounds of “arbitrary and contrived” analyses and justifications.

“None of that technical analysis or legal wrangling was material to the administration’s final decision,” TransCanada said in Friday’s filing. “Instead, the rejection was symbolic and based merely on the desire to make the U.S. appear strong on climate change, even though the State Department had itself concluded that denial would have no significant impact on the environment.”

The State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry concluded the pipeline didn’t serve the national interest.

“We are confident that this determination is entirely consistent with all of our domestic and international obligations, including our obligations under NAFTA,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

In January, TransCanada said “The delay and the ultimate decision to deny the permit were politically driven, directly contrary to the findings of the administration’s own studies and not based on the merits of Keystone’s application.”

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