EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford took her message on the Keystone XL pipeline across the United States Tuesday in the daily newspaper USA Today.
In a guest column published in the newspaper, Redford touts the benefits of the pipeline, which — if approved — would take heavy oil from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
But Redford also emphasizes Alberta’s record on the environment and its commitment to reducing climate change.
“Through our actions, we must also be a global leader in environmental management. Projects like Keystone XL only reinforce our commitment to responsible oilsands development. We can have it both ways. And we will,” writes Redford.
The premier notes that Alberta has a levy on heavy carbon emitters, is redirecting that money into clean energy projects and is taking steps to mitigate the environmental impact from oilsands projects.
“Total conserved land within the oilsands region in Alberta is larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island and the District of Columbia combined,” writes Redford.
The column is the latest attempt by Redford’s government to refute protesters, who have gathered by the thousands in Washington to demand the Keystone line not be approved. They label the carbon-intensive oilsands “dirty oil.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear he wants all nations to take a more active approach on climate change.
Redford says they are in lockstep.
“We stand ready to demonstrate our strong track record on responsible oilsands development. And we are prepared to work with our federal government and our American friends to push the bar higher in addressing climate change,” writes Redford.
“Through our policies and our actions past, present and future, Americans should feel confident that Alberta is the safest, most secure and responsible energy supplier to the U.S.
“The same cannot be said for the other foreign countries and regimes that currently feed U.S. energy demand.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to make the final decision on the $7-billion pipeline later this spring following a report on the environmental impact of the project.
Obama declined to sign off on Keystone last year after critics warned the line was passing too close to a critical, ecologically sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.
Nebraska’s governor has since given the OK to a revised route that avoids the aquifer.