Edmonton

Notley disappointed Obama called Alberta oil 'dirty' while rejecting Keystone pipeline

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is disappointed that President Barack Obama called Alberta oil "dirty" while rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline Friday.

U.S. president's comments show why Alberta needs to address climate change: premier

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is disappointed that President Barack Obama called Alberta oil "dirty" while rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline Friday. 2:20

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is disappointed that President Barack Obama called Alberta oil "dirty" while rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline Friday. 

"It was not necessary to be quite so critical in the way they described our energy product," Notley told a news conference at the Alberta legislature.  "But it also underlines the fact that we need to do a better job in terms of the work we do here in Alberta on climate change."

Obama told a news conference earlier that the Keystone project would not make a "meaningful long term" contribution to the U.S. economy and wasn't in his country's national interest.

"Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America's energy security," he said.

"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change and, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership."

Notley said she was not surprised by the U.S. decision. 

Notley said she plans to act decisively on the province's new climate change plan, which is now under development. She suggested that will improve Alberta's international reputation and make approvals of future projects more likely. 

"We need to be able to have careful, drama-free discussions about the economics of our energy infrastructure," she said. "One of the ways we can help make that happen is for this government to do its part in ensuring that our commitment to combating climate change is real and is understood to be genuine."

Notley said Alberta's past record on climate change, which she's criticized previously, wasn't the only factor in Friday's decision. She said it may be more advantageous to focus on projects that Canada has greater control over, like the Energy East pipeline, as it is critical for Alberta to get oil to tidewater. 

Alberta official Opposition Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean called the U.S. decision "deeply disappointing." 

"I continue to be disappointed by the rhetoric suggesting somehow that Alberta has dirtier oil than any other place in North America," he said. "It's simply not the truth. It's misleading and it's not helpful.:

Jean said that California and Venezuela have higher emissions per barrel than Alberta. 

"We have the very best environmental record of the top 10 oil producers in the world and we will not apologize for that," Jean said.

Jean said Notley wanted Keystone XL to be shelved. 

"For the premier, today's announcement means 'mission accomplished' for Alberta's NDP," he said.

The pipeline would have taken crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Texas gulf coast. Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. issued a statement saying it remains committed to the project. 

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