By Zack Colman - 03/26/13 04:17 PM EDT
Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said pucks, politics and the Keystone XL pipeline are on the agenda Tuesday when the Stanley Cup champions meet President Obama.
Sutter, who owns a ranch in Alberta, told Canada’s The Globe and Mail that he plans to press Obama on the proposed Alberta-to-Texas oil sands pipeline.
“I’m gonna ask him about it – damn rights I am,” Sutter said ahead of the ceremonial White House meeting.
Canadian officials have pressed their counterparts in Washington. But Sutter, who said he “absolutely” supports the pipeline, will be one of the first from the United States' northern neighbor to get in Obama’s ear.
“It’s 20 feet underground. How can we not want to keep North America [energy self-sufficient]? Why does the border have to separate that? It doesn’t make sense. For sure, I’m going to ask him,” he said.
The pipeline is at the center of an aggressive lobbying and political campaign. Obama has final say on the project because it crosses national borders.
Aside from the Canadian government, industry groups, some unions, Republicans and centrist Democrats are pushing Obama to green-light the pipeline. They tout the project’s job-creation potential and cite the benefits of getting oil from an ally.
But green organizations, progressive groups and many Democrats want Obama to nix the pipeline. They say the jobs claims are exaggerated, that much of the oil is intended for export, and that the pipeline would accelerate production of carbon-intensive oil sands that could devastate the climate.
Obama has been noncommittal on his timeline for a decision on the pipeline, and lawmakers say predicting which way he is leaning is merely guesswork.
Republicans said the president told them in meetings earlier this month that the jobs claims by Keystone’s supporters were overblown, and that some of the oil was destined for overseas markets.
Still, they said Obama also indicated that the pipeline wouldn’t be as bad for the environment as its detractors make it seem.