Redford 'very optimistic' Obama will approve Keystone XL pipeline project
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 9:26AM EST
Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she is “very optimistic” that U.S President Barack Obama will ultimately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and is headed to Washington next week to continue efforts to promote the project to stakeholders south of the border.
Redford told CTV’s Question Period that although the decision to approve the project rests solely with Obama, she continues to tout the project to U.S. lawmakers and other groups who are “involved in the conversation.”
And she is buoyed by the fact that she will be meeting with State Department officials during her upcoming visit to Washington, unlike on previous trips, she said.
“I’m very pleased that I’m going to be meeting with the State Department again,” Redford said. “There’s some times when they’ve chosen to decide that wasn’t the right thing to do. So I’m very pleased that they’ve agreed to meet this time, and I think that’s a good sign.”
Obama postponed making a decision on the project, which would see Alberta crude transported to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, until sometime next year.
Meanwhile, Canadian politicians, including Redford and federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver have made several trips to Washington to tout the project’s economic benefits and to counter the message from prominent activists who have said the project will have devastating environmental impacts.
In recent weeks, prominent hedge fund manager and Democratic fundraiser Tom Steyer has waged an anti-Keystone public relations blitz, telling media, including CTV’s Power Play last month that “we need to make a decision as a society to move toward a cleaner energy future for our kids and grandkids.”
In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Steyer even accused the government of “some collusion” with U.S. lawmakers to exploit the now-settled budget impasse over Obamacare to get the Keystone project approved.
Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, called those charges “completely bogus.”
Redford said her job is to assure U.S. lawmakers that Alberta has taken steps on the environmental front, from oil and gas regulation to investments in carbon capture and storage measures, but also make it clear that “before we put any regulations in place that can limit our competitiveness, that we’re seeing also some movement from the United States.”
“We can do more, we’re prepared to do more, but we want to do it in partnership with the United States,” Redford said.
Asked if the federal government could show leadership and put forward a long-promised comprehensive program of environmental regulations, Redford said she expects the federal government is having those discussions now.
Redford is also set to meet with B.C. Premier Christy Clark soon, and she plans to make clear that it is “very important” that Alberta get its oil products to Asian markets via ports in British Columbia.
She said she will await a decision on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline’s viability by the National Energy Board, which is currently holding public hearings on the project, but is also prepared to discuss other options, such as refineries in B.C.
One issue that is not open for discussion, she said, is sharing oilsands royalties.
“These are assets that belong to Alberta.”
Watch CTV’s Question Period live at 11 a.m. ET today for coverage of the Conservative Party convention wrap-up, and join Robert Fife on The Scrum with Tonda MacCharles, John Ivison and Don Martin