The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Alberta Premier Redford back in Washington to lobby for Keystone XL pipeline

  • Print

WASHINGTON - Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she's not a proponent of any individual resource project, even as she's working the Washington corridors of power this week in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Alberta government paid to take out a large ad in the Washington Post newspaper Tuesday that called the proposed $7-billion pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast "the choice of reason."

Yet Redford maintains it is the industry's job to sell any given project, not hers, calling it "a very clear distinction."

"We do think it's an important project. It is not my job to be the proponent of that project," Redford said late Tuesday after a protest-filled forum at the Brookings Institute, a centrist Washington think-tank.

"There is a private company that has a commercial interest, that is going through a process where they are addressing the issues that need to be addressed by decision-makers in the United States," she said.

Her role, she continued, is to describe Alberta government policy to policy makers in Washington. The current visit, which wraps up Wednesday, was Redford's fourth such trip in the last 18 months since becoming premier.

Separating policy from sales pitch could get confusing.

Gary Doer, the Canadian ambassador in Washington, walked Redford out onto an embassy terrace overlooking the Capitol for a Tuesday morning photo op where he used the panorama to announce that "down the street, 62 senators, in principle, voted for our favourite project, so onward and upward."

Doer was referring to last month's symbolic budget amendment vote, when 62 senators — including 17 Democrats and all 45 Republicans — voted to endorse the Keystone XL pipeline.

That has put wind in the sails of other members of Congress who are attempting to pass the Northern Route Approval Act, which would approve the project while explicitly stating that "no presidential permit shall be required."

U.S. President Barack Obama is to decide later this year on whether to approve the 1,800-kilometre line, which would take oil from Alberta's oilsands through the U.S. to refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast in Texas.

The petroleum industry, labour groups and Redford have said Keystone XL is a vital measure to bolster Canada's economy and ensure a stable source of oil for the United States.

They got a boost recently when the U.S. State Department, in a preliminary report, said rejecting Keystone XL would not reduce greenhouse gas emissions or slow down development in the oilsands.

The fate of the TransCanada (TSX:TRP) line has already been postponed once by Obama amid widespread concerns from environmentalists.

Protesters have demonstrated by the thousands in Washington over not just the potential environmental damage by any leaks from the Keystone line, but also over what the line represents.

They say approving Keystone XL would be a tacit endorsement of the expansion of carbon-intensive operations like the oilsands, causing further damage to the environment through greenhouse gases.

Redford is using her Washington pulpit to tell opponents that stopping XL will not stop oilsands development, while attempting to reassure all that Alberta — and Canada's federal government — are making headway on environmental policy.

"We think it's very important to have a price on carbon; we have a price on carbon," Redford told a question-and-answer forum at the Brookings Institute.

"We're working very closely right now with the federal government on a new set of oil and gas regulations that will deal with this. Part of that dialogue is talking about what our carbon price can do for technological development and economic growth."

Redford's assurances didn't appear to ease the concerns of a group of anti-Keystone protesters who infiltrated her afternoon speech and repeatedly disrupted the proceedings.

The premier shrugged off the disturbance, saying emotions will rise as the decision gets nearer.

"It is interesting because some of the people who made comments today, they're valid comments," said Redford.

"They are important questions to ask and all we're ever looking for is the opportunity to be able to answer those questions because we're pretty proud of our record in Alberta."

Redford's trip wraps up Wednesday after meetings with senators and members of Congress.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Peguis Chief Hudson comments on toddler's death upgrade to homicide investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060710 The full moon rises above the prairie south of Winnipeg Monday evening.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google