Canadian resources minister talks Keystone with senators

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford is making the round in Washington this week to talk energy and the Keystone XL pipeline. 

On Tuesday, Rickford met separately with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (D-N.D.) as the Senate kicks off a weeks-long debate over legislation to approve the $8 billion oil pipeline project. 

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An aide to Heitkamp said the senator talked with Rickford about the debate playing out in the Senate, and ways to move forward despite the White House's veto threat to the bill.

Heitkamp also talked to Rickford about how to ensure future pipeline projects "go more smoothly" than Keystone's permitting process in the U.S., the aide said.  

In a statement Tuesday evening, Rickford thanked Heitkamp for supporting the pipeline. 

“Senator Heitkamp is a leader among Senate Democrats in her public support for the Keystone XL pipeline," Rickford said. "Both the United States and Canada have dramatically reduced oil imports, while our oil imports from each other are at record highs."

Rickford added that Canada hopes the State Department would approve the project soon, arguing that "delays can have a negative impact on environmental performance and economic growth in Canada and the United States."

Rickford talked about increasing energy collaboration between the two country with both senators to help push North America toward energy independence. 

Canadian ambassador Gary Doer also attended both meetings. 

Later on Tuesday, Rickford joined Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizTwo years after Harvey's devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded Biden under pressure from environmentalists on climate plan Pelosi, Clinton among attendees at memorial reception for Ellen Tauscher MORE to sign an agreement to increase collaboration on nuclear energy research and development.

The agreement established a framework for the U.S. and Canada to work together on improving the cost, safety, efficiency and proliferation resistance of nuclear energy systems.