Bismarck: Donald Trump today said that if he is elected US president he would support the Canadian Keystone oil pipeline project that was blocked by President Barack Obama on environmental grounds.
Speaking just after he won enough primary delegates to seize the Republican nomination for the White House, Trump told reporters that the project for a new pipeline to carry Canadian crude to the Gulf of Mexico "should be approved."
"I will absolutely approve it 100 per cent, but I want a better deal," Trump added.
He said that because the project requires the US government to expropriate private land using eminent domain laws, the US should have a share of the profits.
"I'm going to say, folks, we are going to let you build the pipeline but give us a piece."
"I want a piece of the profits for the United States. That's how we make our country rich again," he added.
The Obama administration decided in October to deny TransCanada Corp. Permission to build the 1,180-mile (1,900 kilometer) Alberta-Nebraska pipeline that would be a crucial link to carry heavy Canadian oil sands-derived crude into US markets and export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico.
Noting the high environmental cost of using the oil sands crude, Obama argued that approving the pipeline would harm the fight against climate change.
The decision, which came seven years after the company first submitted the project, marred US-Canada relations and angered many in the oil industry in both countries.
In January TransCanada announced it would sue the US government for USD 15 billion for blocking the project, saying it "was arbitrary and unjustified" under the North American Free Trade Agreement and also exceeded Obama's powers.
But the plunge in crude oil prices beginning in 2014 had already lowered the economic justification for the pipeline, with a number of oil sands investments cancelled and existing pipelines beginning to struggle for business.