Christie’s ode to Keystone may have just helped greens

In a not-so-subtle visit to Canada, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) pushed for construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, but he might have lent a helping hand to environmentalists who oppose the project in the process.

Christie, who is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, slammed President Obama for dithering on the long-delayed oil sands project, saying “that’s no way to treat a friend.”

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While urging for construction of the project, however, Christie also used a common argument made by green groups fighting the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

“Here in Canada, by limiting the ability of increased production from the Canadian oil sands to get to market, it stunts production, it risks stunting growth as well," Christie said.

"My view is that we are missing an enormous opportunity when we delay its development," Christie said.

The final State Department environmental analysis released earlier this year refuted that point, stating the pipeline would have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions because producers would be able to get the oil sands to market either way.

A recent tumble in oil prices, which makes transporting crude oil by rail uneconomic, however, is making it more difficult for Canada to expand oil sands.

The inadvertent remark might provide some fodder for greens, who are pressuring Obama to reject the project soon. 

Christie added that his decision to support the pipeline was based on the "merits" of the project.

"On the merits, Keystone should have been approved a long time ago,” Christie added. “It is time, well over time, to get this done.”

Christie said the project would help the energy independence of North America and boost the economies of both Canada and the United States.

“This provides us with another foundational piece for strengthening the geopolitical position of North America and the fact is that for us to be in partnership with our friends and neighbors in Canada to be able to provide the type of stability to supply reliable sources of energy is a good thing,” Christie said, sidestepping questions on if the pipeline directly benefited New Jersey.

Christie gave his remarks alongside Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, who is making a renewed public relations push to get the project approved.

"This is not about sending “your oil” across “our land”.  It’s about maximizing the benefits of North America’s natural resources for all, about allowing markets to function, and about contributing to the prosperity of citizens of both the United States and Canada,"Christie said.

Christie spoke before a room full of energy executives on Thursday who also support the $8 billion project.

Christie’s trip to Canada is seen a way for him to tout his foreign policy chops ahead of a possible 2016 run.