By Ben Geman - 10/10/11 03:30 PM EDT
Jones said “past relationships are not of importance” and asserted that the review has been balanced, emphasizing her meetings with environmental groups, representatives of Canada’s First Nations and other parties.
She said State is “not leaning in any one direction at this point.” The department hopes to make a final decision by the end of the year.
Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute are lobbying in favor of the project. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said at a press conference Friday that the pipeline — which would carry hundreds of thousands of
barrels daily — would enhance U.S. energy security, create 20,000 jobs
and operate under strict safety standards.
Environmental groups, which have called the jobs estimates inflated, oppose the pipeline due to greenhouse gas emissions, forest damage and other impacts from from oil sands projects, as well as the prospect of pipeline spills that could contaminate farmland and drinking water in states along the route.