Redford visits D.C. to push for Keystone approval
Published Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:02PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 24, 2013 10:36PM EST
Alberta Premier Alison Redford is in Washington this weekend to champion the Keystone XL pipeline project, with a decision looming by the White House on whether to allow the $7-billion project to move forward.
Redford and Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen are in Washington to observe the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. Several key governors are lobbying for the Keystone project to proceed, as it will generate construction jobs in their states.
Redford says she wants to get to the bottom of the dialogue around the pipeline decision in the United States following recent comment by both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry about taking strong action against global warming.
The message they want to deliver this weekend is that Alberta has already taken action to reduce carbon emissions from energy projects, she told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “It’s one of the reasons we spend so much time in Washington, to be able to be here to talk about what we’ve already done in Alberta.”
Redford said she has had “compelling” discussions with both Republican and Democratic governors on Alberta’s investment in renewable energies and new technologies.
The proposed megaproject would transport Alberta oil more than 3,000 kilometres to refineries in Texas, crossing through multiple U.S. states. Environmentalists have pegged Obama’s decision on the pipeline as one that will define his legacy.
A report by the Congressional Research Service indicates that carbon emissions from the oil sands are 14 to 20 per cent higher than other U.S. oil imports, fueling the charge against Keystone’s approval amongst American and Canadian environmental groups.
Alberta’s Environment Minister argues that the oil sands “hold up to” other oil products imported by the U.S.
“There is some higher levels with regards to the oil sands, but we look at some of the baskets of crude that are in the United States, Venezuela, California heavy, and the oil sands hold up to that very well,” McQueen told CTV’s Kevin Newman. “So what we say is, put those baskets of crude together, let’s look at them and let’s look at the science based on that. The oil sands will stand up to that.”
McQueen added that she is pleased with the results of air, water and habitat monitoring in northern Alberta, which she said will be released to the public “very, very shortly.”
If the pipeline is not given the go-head by the White House, Redford said there are other markets for Alberta’s oil sands, including a pipeline project that travels east towards Quebec and New Brunswick.
“We’d like to see Keystone go ahead, of course,” she said. “Not only for us, but there are refineries on the Gulf Coast that have been absolutely constructed to refine the bitumen that comes from Alberta and nowhere else.”
Obama is expected to make a decision on the Keystone project this spring.