Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chu Says U.S. Energy Security 'Trade Off' Favors Oil-Sands Pipeline

In an exclusive interview with energyNOW! anchor Thalia Assuras, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says energy security concerns may help the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline win approval.

"It's certainly true that having Canada as a supplier for our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil," Chu said in the interview, part of an energyNOW! special on Canada's oil sands and the Keystone XL pipeline debate which will air September 17 and 18 on Bloomberg Television and September 18 on WJLA ABC7 in Washington, D.C.

"It's not perfect, but it's a trade off," Chu said.

The proposed pipeline, currently under review by the U.S. State Department because it crosses the nation's border with Canada, would bring crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast. Chu is one of eight cabinet members advising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the project.

Environmentalists say the greenhouse gas emissions from oil-sands production will make global warming worse, and are protesting outside the White House to urge Obama to block the pipeline. The protest organizers say there have been more than 700 arrests so far, including NASA climate scientist James Hansen and actress and environmental advocate Daryl Hannah.

Chu, who spoke to energyNOW! on the sidelines of yesterday's National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, NV, stopped short of predicting the outcome of the State Department's pipeline review. However, he said Canada's oil-sands industry is "making great strides in improving the environmental impact of the extraction of this oil."

Chu said he's focused on cutting long-term U.S. demand for oil by promoting greater use of electric vehicles, biofuels and energy efficiency.

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