By Executive Order, the State Department has been delegated authority from the president to receive applications for the construction, connection, operation and maintenance of facilities at the borders of the United States, including petroleum pipelines, and to issue or deny Presidential Permits for such facilities upon a National Interest Determination. A Presidential Permit application triggers an environmental review of the proposed project, under applicable environmental laws and regulations.
After considerable review and evaluation, on August 20, 2009, the Department issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the Alberta Clipper pipeline. In evaluating the Enbridge application, the Department worked in consultation with all relevant agencies and parties and with extensive public and stakeholder participation and outreach.
The Department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the United States' worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions; shortening the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies; and increasing crude oil supplies from a major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer. Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.
Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States' energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.
The National Interest Determination took many factors into account, including greenhouse gas emissions. The administration believes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are best addressed through each country's robust domestic policies and a strong international agreement.
The United States is taking unprecedented steps at home to transform how we produce and consume energy. The president is committed to reducing overall emissions and leading the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
The United States will continue to reduce reliance on oil through conservation and energy efficiency measures, such as the recently increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, as well as through the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation and an ambitious global agreement on climate change to include substantial emission reductions for both the United States and Canada.
The State Department will continue to work to ensure that both the United States and Canada take ambitious action to address climate change, and will cooperate with the Canadian government through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional information can be obtained at http://albertaclipper.state.gov