Bloomberg: US should negotiate with Canada on Keystone

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Wednesday the U.S. should strike a deal with Canada over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Bloomberg, who is now the United Nations climate change envoy, wrote in an op-ed that the administration should negotiate a broader climate deal.

"The Canadian government has been pressing the White House to approve the pipeline, which would bring many more economic benefits to Canada than it would to the U.S.," Bloomberg said. "That gives the White House enormous leverage, which it should use to negotiate a broader, climate-friendly deal that far more than offsets the potential impact of the pipeline."

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And as global leaders inch closer to the December climate change meeting in Paris, Bloomberg argues, Canada will "face increasing pressure" to bulk up its actions on climate change.

Striking an ambitious climate deal with Canada, similar to what President Obama achieved with China, would give him room to approve Keystone and tout an environmental win, Bloomberg said.

"Here in the U.S., Republicans in Congress could declare economic victory, while Democrats could declare environmental victory," he said.  "The president could declare both, while also burnishing his foreign policy legacy and building momentum for the conference in Paris." 

The administration has not hinted at such a deal but said earlier on the in the pipeline's permitting process that more action on Canada's part could help the case for Keystone.

The president vetoed legislation on Tuesday that would have approved the $8 billion oil sands project, his first veto since 2010.

The administration's main point of contention with the Republican-backed bill was that it circumvented the ongoing process at the State Department.  

Proponents of the pipeline say the process has gone on long enough. Keystone's permit has been under review for six years but the State Department is now nearing the finish line.