Romney eyes Canadian oil as big part of energy plan

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Canada will be the key to America’s energy plan if Mitt Romney wins the White House in November.

The Republican presidential candidate outlined his vision for making North America energy independent by 2020 in New Mexico Thursday, and at the top of his to-do list is creating an "energy partnership" with Canada and Mexico and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

"We need to work together with these guys, work collaboratively, and we need to have a fast-tracked process to make sure that infrastructure projects are approved," Romney said. "Particularly, we’re going to get that Keystone pipeline built as one of those first infrastructure projects to take advantage of their resources."

The Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries in the southern United States along the Gulf of Mexico, has been in the works for years but President Barack Obama has delayed final approval until after the election to allow for further environmental reviews.

Critics say Obama delayed the project for political reasons to appease his supporters who oppose oilsands development and worry Canada will look for other markets — China, for example — if the U.S. doesn’t want to buy Canada’s oil.

Romney said working with Canada and Mexico and securing Canadian oil for America will help make North America energy independent by 2020, what would be his last year of a second term, assuming he can win the next two elections.

"It (North American energy independence) means we don’t have to rely on people who, in some cases, don’t like us very much," he said. "We’ll stand arm in arm with our friends from Mexico and our friends from Canada and assure that we have all the energy we need to keep America powered, and to make sure that our military never has to borrow from someone across the ocean that might not be our best friend."

Romney unveiled his energy plan just days before the Republican National Convention kicks off Monday in Tampa, Fla., where the party will finalize its campaign platform heading into November’s election. They will also officially nominate Romney as presidential candidate, and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as vice-presidential candidate.