WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Regardless of the type of oil, having Canada as a main oil supplier to the United States is much better for energy security, the U.S. energy secretary said.
U.S. celebrities, scientists and executives at leading environmental advocacy groups are among the growing number of critics of the planned Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, to Texas oil refineries.
They're worried that heavy crude is more corrosive and lingers in the environment much longer than conventional crude oil. Workers are still dealing with an oil spill more than a year after a pipeline carrying Alberta crude ruptured in southern Michigan.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, during an interview with energyNOW!, said there was a tradeoff when considering crude type over the security of the supplier.
"It's certainly true that having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil," he was quoted as saying.
TransCanada, the company planning Keystone XL, said the project would use puncture-resistant steel and a variety of other safety features that would make the pipeline one of the safest ever built.
The current Keystone network, however, has suffered a series of minor spills since it went into service last year.
The U.S. State Department has the ultimate say in the project because it crosses national borders.