Girling: Keystone debate has become 'referendum' on Obama's green credentials

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. – The CEO of pipeline giant TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says environmental groups have cast the Keystone XL pipeline debate as a referendum on U.S. President Barack Obama’s green credentials.

Russ Girling says in his view, framing the argument that way is unfair.

He says environmental activists have also “concocted a story” that the oilsands are the largest carbon bomb on Earth and that the $5.4-billion pipeline would amount to a fuse.

Girling joked that he’s even had to assure his own mother — a fan of actor Robert Redford, who is also a vocal pipeline opponent — that he’s not out to “blow up the planet.”

TransCanada applied to the U.S. State Department for a permit to build Keystone XL more than five years ago and a decision is expected some time next year.

Girling made his remarks at a business forum in Lake Louise, Alta., hosted by law firm Bennett Jones.