Canada's ambassador to the United States was in Wisconsin today to urge state businesses and politicians to support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The Keystone Pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. Some Wisconsin firms want to help build the pipeline, and others make mining equipment that could see more use in the Canadian tar sands fields.
Canadian ambassador Gary Doer spent some time in Milwaukee today with mining equipment makers Caterpillar and Joy Global. Doer says Canada and Wisconsin would both benefit from having the Keystone pipeline: "We're in this together. The better we do in terms of economic development, the better Milwaukee will do and Wisconsin will do with the employment levels at the plant."
Doer says equipment from Caterpillar and Joy Global would also be used at copper mines and other mining sites in Canada.
Pipeline opponent Josh Mogerman of the Natural Resources Defense Council says Wisconsin firms can still benefit from tar sands mining, without having the Keystone Pipeline.
"The fact of the matter is no one is trying to shut down the tar sands in Canada. The business relationship that we have will continue. Canada is right now the largest supplier of oil to the United States. That's not going to change."
Mogerman says the tar sands crude in the pipeline would likely be sent overseas. Canada says if the pipeline is not built, more pollution-spewing freight trains would carry the oil. But environmentalists argue there is not enough freight rail capacity to do the job. President Obama is currently considering whether to green-light the pipeline.