Redford argues Keystone XL Controversy Obscuring Truth About Alberta’s Environmental Record

12 Apr

By Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald April 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The polarized debate over the Keystone XL pipeline and global warming overlooks the fact that you can build the pipeline and still reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be good stewards of the land, air and water, Premier Alison Redford told a Washington think tank Tuesday.

Redford told the Brookings Institution that the dialogue over approval of the 1,800-kilometre pipeline between Alberta and the U.S. gulf coast “suffers from some glaring deficiencies, which cause essential truths to be overlooked.”

“The most basic truth is that the stark choice Keystone’s opponents have put at the heart of the debate is an illusion,” the Alberta premier said on the same day the province touted Keystone’s value in the Washington Post. “Too many of the arguments deployed against Keystone are far too far from reality. They proclaim that either you stand against the oilsands, or you write off the environment, along with any hope for a sustainable existence.That is completely wrong.

Redford, who met with Canadian ambassador Gary Doer Tuesday morning on the first day of her two-day visit to D.C., said Albertans want to be responsible stewards of their natural resources.

She said Alberta is home to some of the most environmentally friendly, progressive legislation in the world.

“You wouldn’t know that from the clamor of the debate,” she said. “We have nothing to hide, because the facts are on our side.”

The oilsands contribute 21 per cent of Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions, seven per cent of Canada’s emissions, and less than 0.15 percent of the global total, Redford told the gathering.

She added the Canadian oilsands, in total, produce less greenhouse gas emissions than the electric power plants in Ohio, in Indiana, and even less than the agricultural state of Iowa.

Redford noted that Alberta became the first jurisdiction in North America to require large industry to curb greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 and is reviewing its climate change policy to make it even stronger.

She said that since 1990, Alberta’s energy industry has reduced greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil produced by an average of 29 per cent, with some some facilities achieving reductions as high as 50 per cent.

Alberta’s coal-fired power plants have lowered their emissions by an amount equivalent to taking roughly 240,000 cars off the road, the premier added.

“We will close up to a dozen of our older plants over the next 17 years, so we can replace them with cleaner alternatives,” she said.

She said her government is providing $1.3 billion in funding for two large-scale carbon capture and sequestration projects, but didn’t mention that funding for two other programs has been cancelled due to poor economics.

“Alberta has a strong record to defend, a very persuasive case to make, and an undeniable need to make it,” she said. “The facts need to be on the table during the debate over Keystone.”

“We are a responsible energy producer looking to develop and market our resources in a sustainable and thoughtful way, to the benefit of both buyer and seller. That’s really the story.”

Redford said that while there’s much talk now in the United States about energy independence in the U.S., the only realistic way to see that is in terms of North American energy independence — integration between the two countries.

She pointed out almost 30 per cent of U.S. oil imports now come from Canada.

“Without Canada’s almost two million barrels per day from the oilsands, there is no prospect of North American energy independence,” she said. “It makes economic and environmental sense to get that energy from a trusted partner.”

She said more than 900 American companies supply oilsands firms with equipment, parts and services.

Keystone XL would add an estimated $6.9 billion per year to the U.S. economy over the next 25 years, and create or preserve more than 75,000 American jobs, Redford explained.

“Canadians would like to see a level playing field in the debate over Keystone XL,” she said. “The opponents of Keystone are, in effect, tilting the playing field in favor of Venezuela, which would be the biggest beneficiary in the absence of Keystone.”

Redford said Venezuela’s oil has the same carbon footprint, but the country doesn’t have the environmental policies and commitment that Alberta has.

She said Alberta has other options and that includes selling on the global market.

“We know that the developing world is thirsty for our energy,” Redford said. “I’ve been to China twice, and I’ll be leading another trade delegation there later this year, along with one to India. But it’s Keystone that offers the US the most direct and tangible rewards.”

Republished from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Alberta+Premier+Alison+Redford+argues+Keystone/8217845/story.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: