Reporter Matt Lee was amused Tuesday by spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau's contention that the State Department's review of the Keystone XL Pipeline, ongoing since 2008, would proceed "as swiftly as possible" in spite of TransCanada's request that State suspend the review.
Trudeau told Lee that the State Department had received TransCanada's letter and "will get back to them," but would not preview any specific response for the press.
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"This is in accordance with Executive Order 1337, which outlines our role," Trudeau said. "The secretary has made clear that he wants to see this process through. We're going to continue it. While we respond to the letter, I'm not going to get ahead of what that response is."
Lee asked whether the State Department would also halt the process of getting a passport if he made a request like TransCanada's.
"It just seems that if you apply for something and then decide that you want the review of it stopped, there shouldn't be any reason why you would reject that request," Lee said.
"I've been told our process is ongoing," Trudeau said. "We will continue to do that. The secretary has made clear he'd like to see this done as swiftly as possible."
"As swiftly as possible. This process began seven years ago. Do you think that the review has proceeded as swiftly as possible?" Lee asked.
"Secretary Kerry has stated his interest in seeing this–" Trudeau started.
"Secretary Kerry was in the senate when this began," Lee said.
"Secretary Kerry has said he'd like to see this move as swiftly as possible," she said.
"A child born when this process began would be in second grade now," Lee said. "I don't understand. You say he wants it done as swiftly as possible. They're asking for it to stop, and I just don't get it. Are you obliged to continue the review, even if they ask for a pause?"
"So we are committed to seeing this through as swiftly as possible," Trudeau said. "While we seek to respond to this letter, our review process will not pause."
Lee said he understood, as she'd repeated that phrase several times.
Keystone has become a politically contentious issue, with President Obama and left-leaning environmentalists openly pushing for it to be stopped. A 2014 analysis by the Obama administration revealed, however, that the pipeline would not alter the amount of oil ultimately removed from Canadian tar sands and thus would have a negligible impact on the environment.