U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to recipient Warren Buffett during a ceremony to present the awards at the White House in Washington February 15, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing REUTERS/Larry Downing

If it were up to billionaire and business magnate Warren Buffett, the Keystone XL oil pipeline project would have been approved for construction years ago. But since he is not the president of the U.S., he cautioned that furthering delaying the project that will traverse between Canada and the U.S. could jeopardise relations between the two allies.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said Mr Obama’s vetoing the legislation that could have fast tracked the project was like saying no as a whole to Canada itself. “Canada’s been a terrific partner for us over the decades and it is wrong for us to thumb our nose at them,” Buffett said.

The proposed $8-billion, 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline project had been on the table of the vetting process in the U.S. for over six years now. Mr Obama is opposed to the project because of potential effects and hazards to climate change of the pipeline on oilsands expansion. He had directed the State Department to conduct an assessment of the project, the results of which is expected to come out in the coming weeks.

A legislation recently endorsed by the U.S. Parliament for Mr Obama’s signature that would have paved the signal of construction had been vetoed down, prompting observers to conclude the project is caught in a power struggle between the Republicans and Mr Obama. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, had explained that Mr Obama wants due completed first and foremost before he approves the pipeline project, if ever.

A powerful backer of Mr Obama, Buffett thinks the former must approve the project because of its many merits for the two countries. “That oil is going to get sold.”

He also cautioned the incumbent president that stalling the project could yield negative impacts for the U.S. in the long term. “If we make it more difficult for them, who knows how they’ll feel about making things more difficult for us someday.”

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