04/09/2013 10:04 EDT | Updated 04/09/2013 10:20 EDT

Alison Redford Keystone XL Speech In Washington Interrupted By Protest

Alberta Premier Alison Redford was interrupted by protesters in Washington Tuesday, as she spoke in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Redford shrugged off the disturbance, saying the protesters have valid concerns.

"Not everyone is always going to agree," said Redford after the incident. "I think the important part is that we share a common platform.. a place where we can have that conversation."

"People are emotional about it, and as the decision gets closer people will become more emotional," she said when asked about climate change. "We accept that and we understand that but we'll carry on talking about the issues," Redford said, shrugging off the opposition.

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Redford is in Washington this week to lobby in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Alberta government also paid to take out a large ad in the Washington Post newspaper Tuesday that called the proposed $7-billion pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast "the choice of reason."

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to decide later this year on whether to approve the 1,800-kilometre pipeline, which would take oil from Alberta's oilsands through U.S. to refineries to ports on the Gulf Coast in Texas.

Protesters have demonstrated by the thousands in Washington over not just the potential environmental damage by any leaks from the Keystone line, but also over what the line represents.

Pipeline critics say approving Keystone XL would be a tacit endorsement of the expansion of carbon-intensive operations like the oilsands, causing further damage to the environment through greenhouse gases.

Redford is using her Washington pulpit to tell opponents that stopping XL will not stop oilsands development, while attempting to reassure all that Alberta — and Canada's federal government — are making headway on environmental policy.

With files from The Canadian Press