By Ben Geman - 02/17/13 03:18 PM EST
Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., believes the press is doing a lousy job covering the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that Canadian officials are urging the Obama administration to approve.
“Twenty people protesting do get more attention in the media than the 65 percent of Americans that prefer to get their oil from Canada rather than Venezuela or the Middle East,” Doer said in an interview broadcast Sunday on Platts Energy Week TV.
Nearly 50 people were arrested outside the White House on Wednesday in civil disobedience to protest Keystone, which would bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
Roughly 20,000 demonstrators are expected at a rally on the National Mall later Sunday that will call for White House action on climate change. Urging President Obama to reject the pipeline is a top focus of the event.
Environmentalists bitterly oppose Keystone due to greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and using oil sands, and say that building the pipeline will ensure continued expansion.
But Doer said that the pipeline will help boost U.S. energy security, and argued that building Keystone isn’t incongruous with making progress on climate change in both nations.
“We believe it shouldn’t be an either-or discussion, even though that is the media narrative here in Washington,” said Doer, whose nation is already the top supplier of foreign oil to the U.S.
He cited harmonized U.S.-Canadian efforts on vehicle emissions, Canada’s work with the U.S. and other nations to reduce so-called short-lived climate pollutants, and other steps.
Doer declined to predict whether the White House will sign-off on Keystone, but said there are “rational reasons to proceed” and added that Obama is a “rational person.”