David Wilkins, a lobbyist for Canadian oil interests and a prominent supporter of the Romney presidential campaign, has guaranteed approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if President Obama is defeated. In an interview with the Financial Post, the former ambassador to Canada during the George W. Bush administration said that the risky tar sand project would “absolutely be approved if a Republican gets elected president”:
Q: What will be the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, in your opinion?
WILKINS: It will absolutely be approved if a Republican gets elected president. I am hopeful it will be approved [under Obama]. There are two schools of thought on this: If Mr. Obama gets re-elected, he will listen to his base and never approve it. The other school of thought believes Mr. Obama will approve it as he no longer has to rely on his environment base – I don’t know which one it is.
A long-time South Carolina legislator, Wilkins chaired the 2004 Bush re-election efforts in that state before being picked as ambassador to Canada. He then joined the Nelson Mullins lobbying firm, where he advocates for Alberta, Canada oil and timber interests. Wilkins is a registered lobbyist for the province of Alberta, the tar sands company Nexen Inc., Alberta Energy, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Wilkins supported the candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) before joining the Romney campaign in January. Announcing his endorsement of Romney, Wilkins cited the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.