September 4, 2012
U.S. rep downplays role in pipeline decision
By Renato Gandia, Calgary Sun
The role of the new American consul in determining the future of Keystone XL pipeline is "very basic," says a diplomat newly assigned to the Calgary consulate.
"Certainly, at a very basic level and all across the board this government depends on us to get it right when it comes to what's going on here," Peter Kujawinski told reporters following a white hat ceremony at city hall Tuesday.
"Certainly, I have a role in that, but when it comes to actual decision, that decision is going to be made in Washington," he said when asked what role he plays in the approval process of the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline.
"The role of the consulate here is to be officially the U.S. presence in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories," he said.
"My role is to best represent as I can, the wishes, the desires, the knowledge, the dynamism that occur here and inform Washington."
Kujawinski said the energy ties between the U.S. and Canada are one of the most important his country has in the world, and the relationship goes beyond oil and gas.
Keystone is undergoing a process of examination in Washington D.C. and the project has faced opposition from environmentalists and some members of the U.S. Congress.
Kujawinski arrived in Calgary on Aug. 24 for a three-year term as the American consul general.
The diplomat is a fiction book author and was born in Chicago.
His assignments as a diplomat included the American embassies in Tel Aviv, Paris, the UN Security Council, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
He said he has wanted to visit Calgary because he has heard about its dynamism that's similar to his hometown of Chicago.
"It is the perfect combination of hospitality, of people, of incredibly interesting issues," he said. ""It's an incredibly dynamic place. I want to be part of that dynamism."
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