Redford plans more U.S. trips before Keystone decision
Alberta's premier has already made 4 trips to lobby for the pipeline project
Premier Alison Redford says more meetings are in the works with U.S. officials as she continues to push for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Redford says she is pleased with Friday's draft report released by the U.S. State Department, as it wasn't highly critical of the pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta to Texas nor was it a strong endorsement of its construction.
The American public now has 45 days to comment on the report.
Redford says her effort to promote Alberta's environmental record is working, and she believes it will continue to be key in the future.
"I think that every step that we can take that shows that we are what we say we are and prove that we are proud stewards of the land and we want to make sure that our development is responsible and sustainable will be helpful and from that perspective I think we need to keep doing that work," she said.
Redford says she is planning another series of meetings in the U.S. as early as next month.
"One of the things that we're pleased to see is that the advocacy that we've already undertaken through the four trips that I've made, and other trips that other ministers have made, is having an impact," she said.
Calgary economist Peter Linder also believes Friday's report will encourage President Barack Obama to give the green light to the project.
"The significance of this report is simply eliminates, I believe, any reason Obama has now not to approve it," he said.
"The environmental approval for the pipeline now is behind us to a large extent and so now he's got absolutely no reason I believe not to approve the pipeline in the next couple of months."
But environmentalists see the State Department report in a vastly different light.
They say it was inadequate and failed to account for climate risks posed by the pipeline.