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Alberta Premier Alison Redford shows up in Washington for a final round of lobbying on behalf of the controversial TransCanada Corp. pipeline project.
WASHINGTON—The drive to bring Alberta crude to the United States will continue no matter what the Americans decide about the KeystoneXL pipeline, Alberta Premier Alison Redford said Tuesday.
In Washington for a final round of lobbying on behalf of the controversial TransCanada Corp. project, Redford cautioned that outright rejection by the Obama administration when the issue comes to a head this summer could transform KeystoneXL into a never-ending diplomatic thorn, likely to rise anew every time Canadian and U.S. politicians meet.
Cancellation of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline would not mean “the matter fell off the table,” Redford said in remarks at the Brookings Institution.
The cross-border business community invested in oilsands development, she said, would likely proceed unfazed, because it involves “very tight relationships” where “everyone understands what the opportunities are.”
But the politics of rejection could leave oilsands as a sort of diplomatic elephant in the room, hovering over the Canada-U.S. relationship.
“My sense is that it would be a lot more helpful to have (KeystoneXL) proceed because if it didn’t it would end up becoming a part of ongoing conversations,” she said. “And that would be disappointing because there’s too many other issues we need to discuss and be productive on and it would be a shame to let that sit in the middle of it.”
Redford was interrupted twice by climate protesters during the hour-long session at the Brookings. Each time she paused patiently as security escorted the hecklers away and resumed a full-throated defence of Alberta’s climate record, insisting regulations already in place and others under development make her province home to “some of the most environmentally friendly legislation in the world.”
If the arguments were familiar — Redford has come to Washington before to tout Alberta’s existing 15/tonne tax on industrial emitters and other measures, including investment in experimental carbon capture and storage projects — the stakes were altogether higher, amid a rising furor of anti-pipeline activism.
But Redford also appeared to back away from earlier suggestions that Alberta is looking to toughen its carbon tax regime with higher prices per tonne.
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