The U.S. State Department's report on the Keystone XL pipeline may pave the way for the project's approval but as for Alison Redford, the report is also a vote of confidence for the province's environmental track record.

The tone of the Alberta premier's message, which she delivered moments after the report's results were made public, was positively upbeat compared to the mood that's surrounded pipeline talk in the Alberta legislature in recent months.

"I’m pleased that by respecting and actively participating in the process, our input has been accepted and understood," said Redford.

"It also recognizes Alberta’s progressive environmental initiatives which position our province as leader in responsible energy development.

"There is no doubt that Alberta’s commitment to environmental management firmly positions us as the safest, most secure and responsible energy supplier to the U.S."

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  • No Tar Sands XL Pipeline

    Americans from nearly all 50 states joined the White House sit-in to push President Obama to deny the permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that <a href="http://bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/keystone-xl-is-self-destructive-does-the-obama-administration-need-to-be-also/" target="_hplink">would carry</a> dirty tar sands oil 1,700 miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast. <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez</em>.

  • Tyranny of Oil

    "If President Obama denies the permit for this pipeline it will send a jolt of electricity through the people who elected him," said author Bill McKibben, who spearheaded the protest. <em>Photo: Shadia Fayne Wood. </em>

  • Daryl Hannah Joins the Sit-in

    Daryl Hannah holds a sign in front of the white house to urge President Obama to reject the keystone pipeline. She was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/30/daryl-hannah-arrested-keystone-protest_n_942072.html" target="_hplink">arrested</a> along with 72 others who also engaged in civil disobedience on August 29th, 2011. <em>Photo: Ben Powless.</em>

  • Not the Change We Hoped For

    Protestors braved an earthquake, hurricane sun and rain to complete the two-week sit-in at the White House.

  • Obama, Stand Up

    Protestors lined the White House fence every morning before being arrested by DC Park Police. <em>Photo: Ben Powless.</em>

  • Climate Change Is Not in Our National Interest

    People gathered in front of the White House holding signs that urge the president to reject the keystone pipeline on August 27, 2011. <em>Photo: Ben Powless.</em>

  • Courage and Resolve

    The vast majority of participants in the protest had never been arrested before. "Power responds to a demand and we have to let that demand be heard. It's time to step outside the system and do some things we haven't done before," said Gus Speth, a leading environmental lawyer who served in two White House administrations and co-founded the National Resources Defense Council.

  • Final Day of White House Protest Saw a Surge of Enthusiasm

    The final day of the tar sands pipeline protest saw an unexpected surge of Americans arrested in front of the White House trying to push their president to stand up to big oil and deny the permit for a dangerous new dirty tar sands oil pipeline. <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez</em>.

  • High School Student Participates in Tar Sands Action

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Young people have a large presence at the tar sands civil disobedience action in front of white house. 52 people engaged in civil disobedience and were arrested on August 24th, 2011. From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez.</em>

  • Naomi Klein Arrested at White House Tar Sands Protest

    "The Canadian government is acting as the global advertising agency of the tar sands oil industry," <a href="http://www.tarsandsaction.org/press/releases/" target="_hplink">said</a> author and activist Naomi Klein, who was arrested Friday. "Canadians have come to appeal directly to President Obama, to demand that he stop this pipeline and make good on his 2008 election promises." <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez.</em>

  • Action Participants Walk to the White House for Sit-In

    WASHINGTON, DC -- People from all over the country walk to the white house to stage a sit-in. 52 people engaged in civil disobedience and were arrested on August 24th, 2011. From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. <em>Photo Credit: Ben Powless</em>. <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez.</em>.

  • Joe Uehlein & His Daughter Join the Protest

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Joe Uehlein, a Labor Movement Leader, and his daughter came to support the Tar Sands Action on August 24th, 2011. Joe remembered when his dad brought him to a picket line when he was just a kid and how powerful that experience was. They sat in with participants of the action until the first warning was called. From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood.</em>

  • Bill Mckibben Arrested in Front of the White House

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Bill Mckibben, author and co-founder of 350.org, participated in Civil Disobedience on August 20th, 2011. He was arrested along with 64 other participants in the action who are all being held overnight. From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood.</em>

  • Gus Speth Arrested in Front of the White House

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Gus Speth, Founder of NRDC, participated in Civil Disobedience on August 20th, 2011. He was arrested along with 64 other participants in the action who are all being held overnight. From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood.</em>

  • Canada First Nations Demand End to Tar Sands

    Indigenous Environmental Network and author/activist Naomi Klein join White House protest. September 2, 2011. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood.</em>

  • STOP The Pipeline

    September 2, 2011. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood</em>.

  • I Vote No Oil

    September 2, 2011. <em>Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood.</em>

  • Phase 2

    Protest organizers have pledged a new phase of campaigning across the country, escalating a campaign to push President Obama to stand up to Big Oil. <em>Photo Credit: Josh Lopez. </em>

Political and public pressures against pipelines have been perceived as the single biggest threat to the provincial economy. The sentiment even permeates over party lines with the governing Tories, the Wildrose Party and the Liberals all stating stalled pipeline development can be the death knell of Alberta's powerful economy.

The Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Energy East pipelines have all been named as critical to Alberta's economic future.

The Conservatives blamed the lack of pipeline capacity for the billions in debt the province found itself in last spring. The Tories said the low price of crude Alberta gets from oilsands bitumen and topped-up pipeline capacity led to what the Redford government referred to as the Bitumen Bubble.

The Keystone XL pipeline, that years ago seemed a sure thing, has seen mounting political opposition in the U.S. and its future has seemed at times shaky at best.

“Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States," the report says. "The dominant drivers of oil sands development are more global than any single infrastructure project."

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Keystone Won't Change Much, U.S. State Dept. Says

This latest report from the Barack Obama administration is the first clear sign the pipeline may actually meet with a favourable outcome.

Thus, Redford's new-found confidence was made clear through her statement Friday.

"The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is an important step toward approval of a pipeline that will build our economic partnership with our friends in the U.S. and help foster North American energy security and independence," said Redford.

“It will ensure fairer prices for the resources every Albertan owns, allowing us to invest in building a stronger, more secure Alberta.

“Alberta has always respected the U.S. decision-making process and we expect the President’s final decision will be based on science and fact, as confirmed in today’s Final Environmental Impact Statement.”

Keystone aims to carry oilsands crude from Hardisty in central Alberta, through the U.S. and to the Gulf Coast, where it can be shipped to overseas markets.

The decision of whether or not the pipeline goes ahead now rests in the Oval Office.