The Canadian company associated with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project has begun planning for the aftermath of anticipated rejection of the proposal by US President Barack Obama.
In public statements, TransCanada said still hope from Obama approval of Keystone XL, which has become over postponements an irritant between the Canadian and US governments.
But good people in project development is stated that the company is almost convinced of an impending rejection based on signals that the White House sends publicly and privately. Thus, TransCanada is evaluating the next step.
One possible answer is to challenge the decision under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to recover damages from the US government. Another would be to immediately submit a new license application to the US State Department before the presidential election in 2016.
A source involved in the project says the company, based in Calgary, consult his lawyers on the mechanics of a challenge before NAFTA, and evaluates the political and legal implications.
This source claims that the main suspense now lies in the way that Obama will make his announcement – quietly, in a statement on Friday afternoon in the middle of summer, or more firmly on a forum such as that it will available August 31 at a conference on climate change in Alaska.
“The rumor is that the decision to dismiss (Keystone) was taken, and the Obama administration just waiting for the right moment and the right place,” she says, adding that various employees at the White House suggested that rejection was about to be confirmed.
An expert for his part said he would advise TransCanada wait, and hope for the inauguration in 2017 of a US administration more willing to open the way to Keystone. The US government has a record of 13-0 in the cases before NAFTA. A lawsuit probably would fail, would cost a few million dollars to the company, and possibly increase tensions with the US government, said David Gantz, who served on committees of NAFTA, and teaches commercial law at the University Arizona.
But another expert says the company should still try. Debra Steger, Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa, who was the first Director of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said TransCanada hopes may rely on a recent decision against the Canadian government in Bilcon case concerning a career in Nova Scotia.