Canadian prime minister: Obama 'punted' Keystone XL decision

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said President Obama "punted" the decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

But Harper said he remains confident it would be built.

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Harper commented on the $5.4 billion project during a conversation hosted by Vancouver Board of Trade chief executive Iain Black, the Calgary Herald reports.

Black began asking Harper about the pipeline, saying Obama had rejected it when Harper interjected.

"No, he's punted," Harper said of Obama on Monday. "He said 'maybe.' "

"It's my hope that the administration will in due course see its way to take the appropriate decision, but that's obviously a political process in the United States," Harper said.

The controversial pipeline proposed by TransCanada would run from the oil sands in Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast

"The good news is that, on both sides of the aisle, in both political parties, in both houses, and throughout the American economy and public, there is widespread support for the project," Harper said.

"I am confident that in due course the project will, in one way or another, proceed," he added.

Stakeholders are awaiting the State Department's highly anticipated final environmental impact statement of the pipeline, which has garnered some scrutiny. It is expected to be released in the coming weeks.