Alberta premier heads to Washington, D.C., on energy mission
EDMONTON - Alberta’s premier said Thursday she remains “very optimistic” TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline will be approved in the United States even as the political rhetoric heats up in that country on the issue of climate change.
Premier Alison Redford, leaving Friday for a weekend lobbying trip in Washington, D.C., said it is important for her to spend time learning from federal and state legislators about the connection they see between the $7-billion pipeline’s future and Canada’s greenhouse gas emission policies.
The U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, raised that link after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Just Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the country must act to combat climate change. Although he did not mention the Keystone pipeline specifically, his words are being watched closely since the State Department must weigh in on whether it supports the project.
Alberta has no current plans to increase the $15-per-tonne tax it levies on carbon emissions, Redford said Thursday.
“But we do want to make sure we’re continuing to talk about what our record has been with respect to emissions, that we take policies around greenhouse gas seriously, that we have continued to have a price on carbon that we’ve been able to redirect into new technologies and we believe in sustainable development of the oilsands,” she said.
This will be the third time that Redford has travelled to Washington since becoming premier, but it is the first trip since Obama’s re-election. Obama put any decision on the Keystone pipeline on hold until after the election. Last weekend thousands protested against the project in Washington.
Alberta views the pipeline as a critical piece of infrastructure at a time when the province’s crude is selling at a discounted price, in part of because of its dependence on the U.S. as its customer.
“We’ve always said that once the election was over and once the new cabinet was put in place that we were going to want to re-engage in that dialogue,” Redford said.
The $19,000 trip for Redford and two staff members includes sessions with the National Governors Association, the Western Governors’ Association, as well as an event with Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
“Fundamentally, this province more than any other province in Canada is impacted by these issues and we want to keep championing those issues,” she said.
According to the National Governors Association website, the focus of the weekend meetings include sessions on employing Americans with disabilities, federal tax reform and cyber-security.
Redford will be joined at the event by Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development minister Diana McQueen, whose trip extends to meetings in Maine and Vermont. That department said it will spend $26,000 on the mission.
Hopefully Redford & McQueen will be able to get Keystone back on the mind of Obama and his cabinet.
He did say that he'd put it back on the table for discussion post-election.
It's quite refreshing that you (a liberal) were able to put the "party line" aside, and vote for her (a conservative). The best person for the job. Not too much of that going on these days, South of your border.
In America, we almost go OUT OF OUR WAY to put the worst person for the job, in office.
Can you say, "Nancy Pelosi"???
But I digress.
I wish Redford & McQueen the best of luck. I know that Texas is behind Keystone.
I'll be honest, this election and our last Federal Election are the first time ever I have not voted Liberal. And I still consider myself very much a Liberal. I'm not happy with my choice Federally, but think the Liberal candidate would have been worse (it KILLS me to say that...lol). And the other parties were all way to extreme for me. Provincially, it was different. She had some good ideas, and for the most part is actually following through! (What a concept). And so far she has not done a slash and burn of social agencies, and is supporting our agenda of helping folks leave homelessness and poverty behind. At the same time, she is promoting a strong economic environment, and without that, we cannot succeed with social programs. Keep in mind that 50% of our funding comes from private sector. I am very very pro strong social programming - I want people to have good jobs available to them, want to keep our healthcare program and other similar programs healthy. I want to see those that are unable to work recieve monthly stipidends that allow them to live a healthy decent lifestyle. In my province that is very very dependent on a strong economy. And the key to that here is Oil & Gas. I am also very pro strong policies around keeping our environment healthy for the future, but I do believe the two can go hand in hand. I really do. And I believe we have very good sound checks and balances in place here to promote that.
I can't find it now, but read an article yesterday about a woman in TX that is priding herself on single handedly stopping the Keystone project by not letting it cross her land.
In the long run, the project may not be the best, but we don't know that right now. There have been a lot of things tried over the years that didn't turn out so well; why should this on create such a stir?
Actually, our Premiere is now pursuing overseas options. China is most definately one of those. Not sure how possible it would be to place a pipeline between Alberta & B.C. though....the Rockies would be a pretty massive undertaking.
I do know though that us selling to China gets very political. It would seem a lot of the US politicians think we should prioritize the US. That's fine, but not at their whim if that makes sense. We need to do what we need to do as well.
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