Alberta premier goes to U.S. to back Keystone pipeline

Premier Alison Redford is going to Washington to talk with U.S. lawmakers about the Keystone XL pipeline.
Pipe destined for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is stockpiled near Gascoyne, North Dakota. (CBC)

Premier Alison Redford is going to Washington to talk to U.S. lawmakers about the Keystone XL pipeline.

Premier Alison Redford will speak to U.S. senators Monday about the Keystone XL pipeline. (CBC)

Redford will be in Washington Monday where she will meet with a number of senators, including Chuck Schumer, an influential Democrat from New York, CBC News has learned.

She will also meet the current Canadian and U-S ambassadors as well as their predecessors at the Canadian embassy.

Officials in the premier's office say a major focus will be to tell lawmakers that the Keystone XL pipeline would help the sagging economy

The pipeline is awaiting approval from U.S. President Barack Obama, but this week the State Department announced it willl review whether the environmental assessment followed federal regulations.

Redford said Tuesday that she's not planning to intervene in the approval process.

"I do believe that this is a process that Americans have to go through to decide what they want the outcome to be," Redford said. 

"We are going to very clearly tell the story that this matters to Alberta and we think that we can speak to our experience with respect to regulation and pipelines."

TransCanada's 2,736-kilometre pipeline would carry oil derived from the Alberta oilsands through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma to refineries in Texas.

The pipeline will cost billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs, said Calgary-based TransCanada.

The project has come under fire from farmers, environmentalists, Hollywood celebrities and politicians over the last few months.

While supporters say the line could significantly reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil, opponents say it would bring "dirty oil" that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill.