South of the border government support is growing for the Keystone XL pipeline project. Cal Dallas Alberta’s minister for Intergovernmental International and Aboriginal Relations gave an oilsands tour on October 18 to U.S. congressmen representing Ohio Illinois and South Carolina.

During an Edmonton press conference following the tour the politicians advocated American commitment to the oilsands for its political stability and minimal risk of adverse environmental effects despite criticism to the contrary.

TransCanada’s $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline project is increasingly controversial. Opponents are now accusing TransCanada and the U.S. State Department of conflict of interest during the approval process.

Not long after the State Department issued an environmental impact statement claiming the project is unlikely to have a significant impact on the areas it will pass through opponents pointed out that the company hired to conduct the study had worked with and been recommended by TransCanada.

Terry Cunha of TransCanada confirms that Cardno Entrix was one of three assessment contractors TransCanada recommended to the State Department to conduct the study. He says TransCanada made the suggestion because ‘‘we need to ensure that the company that is going to be doing the environmental assessment has the experience capability knowledge to do it.”

‘‘We shortlisted numerous parties and identified three we felt had the most ability to do it and then left it up to the Department of State.” Cunha stresses that once Cardno Entrix was selected the company received its instructions from the State Department and reported directly to the U.S. government.

If approved the 2670-kilometre pipeline could carry 700000 barrels of oil per day from northern Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and Illinois by 2013.