Keystone momentum building in D.C., Alison Redford says

There is a renewed sense of momentum in Washington D.C. among people trying to win approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, Alberta’s premier says.

Fresh from trip to U.S. capital, Alberta premier says the discussion has changed for the better

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says the discussion about Keystone XL in Washington D.C. has recently changed. (CBC)

There is a renewed sense of momentum in Washington D.C. among people trying to win approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, Alberta’s premier says.

As Alison Redford wrapped up her latest visit to the U.S. capital on Wednesday, she told CBC’s The Eyeopener that she noticed a new attitude among the key players.

“There is a real sense, much more than I’ve ever seen before, that there is a bipartisan approach to getting this done, both in Congress and in the Senate,” she said.

Redford met with three U.S. Senators, two Democrats and one Republican, who are championing the project as a boon for their states and the United States as a whole.

The U.S. State Department is finishing up its final environmental impact assessment of Keystone, in consultation with experts and stakeholders.

Redford said she also met with State Department officials, representatives of the Council of Environmental Quality and the Environment Protection Agency, which are taking part in the assessment process.

“Right now, the work that’s being done is not being done at the White House. It’s being done by the State Department and by government departments where everyone is participating in this final environmental impact assessment,” she said.

There is also a renewed focus in the U.S. on how to achieve energy security, an issue that should put Alberta oil in a positive light, Redford said.   

“The international environment has changed a lot in the last 12 months, and so it’s important, again, to remind people in the United States … that we are a trusted trading partner, that we have a strong environmental regulation in place, and that if you’re really concerned about security and the environment, then Alberta really is the trading partner that you want to be working with,” the premier said.

On the issue of whether Obama is likely to ultimately sign-off on Keystone given his concerns about rising greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands, Redford said there is reason for optimism.

“The reason we’re seeing an increase is not because of the way we’re producing oil in the oilsands. It’s because of the fact that there is continuing consumer demand,” she said, noting that the environmental footprint of the oilsands is much less than it was two years ago.

“That distinction, while a fine distinction, is not lost on people down here.”


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