Premier praises her effort in Washington D.C.

Premier Alison Redford returned from her latest lobbying trip to Washington D.C. in good spirits about the likelihood the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved.

Redford held meetings with the U.S. under-secretary of the environment secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency and congressional and senate leaders to discuss the pipeline. During a November 12 press conference from the American capital she said these meetings left her feeling like the push to get Keystone XL approved is making headway.

“When I come to Washington I speak to Alberta’s environmental record with respect to the work that we’ve done with respect to land use our investments in carbon capture and storage… the timing is important right now because this is certainly very high on people’s agendas” she said.

“We’re seeing a very interesting dialogue happening in Washington… primarily with respect to rail… a lot of that [oilsands] product is being transported by rail at the moment. And that’s something that’s receiving quite a bit of attention in the United States partly because we know that the transportation by rail leads to a higher greenhouse gas emission than a pipeline would” said Redford.

She believes that heightened concern about rail safety and emissions has “changed the context” of Keystone XL discussions from what it was two years ago.

Redford says U.S. officials did not raise questions about Alberta’s soaring greenhouse gas emissions but she defended the province’s record suggesting Alberta should not take all the blame for oilfield emissions when consumption drives production.

“Even though on a per barrel basis we’re having great success with respect to emission reduction we see volume increases because of consumer demand that has an impact on those figures. While we’ve… taken the lead and have led and borne a lot of the responsibility to deal with those figures we also say that it has to be a solution that includes consumer decision as well” she said.

President Barack Obama was initially expected to approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline’s cross-border expansion in the fall of 2011. That decision has been repeatedly postponed. Approval now hinges on the findings of an environmental assessment from the U.S. State Department.