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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:13

Alta’s stance on pipeline project not as clear as some may believe

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Those in the petroleum industry in Alberta are thrilled to know Premier Alison Redford is on the job, trying to get the Keystone XL pipeline pushed through as President Barrack Obama goes to the 11th hour and the 59th minute of having to decide on the pipeline’s application.

Well, maybe not really thrilled. After all, one wonders where the Alberta government stands on this issue. Redford seems like she wants to make sure the $7-billion pipeline project gets completed as she meets with members of the U.S. State Department plus a couple of government environmental departments who are reviewing the pipeline’s application.
She did tell reporters that the meetings went well. Great, that endorsement should make those supporting the project feel better.
The initial proposal was made in 2008. By 2012, Obama had rejected the pipeline which would begin in Hardisty Alberta, then would flow bitumen through southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan and south to Texas gulf. The proposal was altered to the point where Obama reconsidered and said his final decision would be made by the end of this year or early next  year.
This trip by Redford was to last little more than one day as she had scheduled meetings on Tuesday (Nov. 12) with her and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas flying back Wednesday.
Many would argue a reported $17,000 cost to Alberta taxpayers is well worth it when discussing a $7-billion proposal which should help the Alberta economy.
Where things get lost or vague is the lack of details and the lack of knowledge the premier seems to be relaying.
Is she herself convinced that this is a good plan?
This is her fifth trip to the U.S. capital in two years. Sure, it’s a $7-billion project, but why would Albertans benefit? Redford really hasn’t tried to sell Albertans on why this is such a great project. If she can’t sell it to Albertans, why would anyone in Washington listen? Apparently they haven’t. If this was such a major project, why would the Americans do anything to hurt one of their closest trading partners which has vast amounts of petroleum which is extremely close in proximity to their energy-hungry nation?
The other aspect of petroleum producers is that the government has shown either a lack of complete commitment or a weak understanding of the petroleum industry when it comes to completing major deals.
Redford and B.C.’s Christy Clark just met and said they came to an agreement on the five key points to the two provinces allowing a nearly 1,200-km Enbridge pipeline to go from Alberta to a tanker terminal in Kitimat B.C. Reports suggest it would deliver 525,000 barrels of oil.
However, to summarize, Clark and Redford basically agreed on having more talks and if B.C. has financial demands (i.e. in this case, the Northern Gateway proposal from Enbridge) the B.C. government would go directly to the oil companies. Nothing like having a pulse on what’s going on, especially with B.C. where reports have repeatedly suggested the two premiers have not exactly seen eye-to-eye on a lot of matters.
The provinces’ self congratulations is nothing but hollow. Putting a positive spin on signing an official agreement on agreeing to the facts about what have kept the two apart in the first place.
It’s reminiscent of a company having a big meeting to agree on the minutes of the last meeting: useless, much like Redford’s “efforts” around lobbying in Washington.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor