Allegations that Washington in 2009 was ready to back an extension to TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline don't reflect the 2011 reality, an official said.
The U.S. State Department needs to approve TransCanada's plans for the Keystone XL pipeline because it would cross the U.S. border with Canada. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year said she was considering the pipeline.
A cable obtained by the Web site WikiLeaks said Washington as early as 2009 was ready to consider green-lighting the project.
James Millar, a spokesman for TransCanada, was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying a lot has changed in the energy sector since 2009.
"We have to look at the fact that, post this cable, we had the BP incident (in the Gulf of Mexico) and the (Enbridge oil spill) incident in Kalamazoo that changed the debate and was a game-changer," he said. "In 2009 we were still working through the process for the draft environmental statement that didn't come out until the spring of 2010."
Critics of TransCanada's plans point to the perceived rise in the number of oil spills and the potential harm from tar sands oil extracted from Alberta, Canada.
The planned extension would cross the Yellowstone River in Montana. U.S. lawmakers are questioning officials regarding a July 1 spill from an Exxon Mobile pipeline into the river.
TransCanada President Russell Girling, in an article on the political Web site The Hill, said Keystone XL" will use the most advanced construction techniques, including horizontal directional drilling that allows us to drill under the river a minimum of 25 feet."