Nebraska governor never got Trump’s promised call on Keystone XL
When U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order approving the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline extension back in March, he pledged to jump-start the approval process. In an Oval Office ceremony he told TransCanada (TRP.TO) CEO Russ Girling: “I’ll call Nebraska” to expedite construction approvals.
Now, as the pipeline proposal continues to be vetted by state regulators, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts tells BNN he never got that call from the White House.
“You know we were never actually able to connect on that,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “But I certainly think President Trump knows from our previous conversations that it is something I support.”
Ricketts, who is in Toronto for a mission to promote trade with his state, said he was able to speak with Trump about the pipeline during a recent energy roundhouse held at the White House. “We are all about trying to make this process as easy as possible,” he said.
Ricketts says the pipeline should be approved because it is good for both countries. In Nebraska, the high-paying jobs will be a benefit to the state during construction and the increased property taxes along the pipeline route will add to state coffers once Keystone is in operation, he said. “It’s important to Canada as well – and as our closest ally, I think that means something.”
While Ricketts says Keystone would likely be one of the “safest pipelines ever built,” he acknowledged there are still a lot of apprehension in his state about the potential environmental risks associated with Keystone XL.
“I think there is still more work to do with regards to addressing people’s concerns about the environment,” he said.
Canada-U.S. trade relations have been plagued by increasing tensions over softwood lumber and dairy products. Renegotiation talks for the longstanding North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin Aug. 16.
The Ricketts is the first Nebraska governor to come to Canada for a trade mission and says he hopes the upcoming NAFTA talks will increase trade between the two countries.
“The NAFTA agreement has been wonderful for Nebraska,” he said. “There has been a great relationship between Canada and the United States…we don’t want to disrupt that relationship.”