WASHINGTON - Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she senses a shift in discussions with some U.S. government officials about the proposed Keystone XL oilsands pipeline.
After her fifth trip to Washington, D.C., Tuesday to lobby for the project, Redford says some people there are starting to appreciate that shipping bitumen by rail generates more greenhouse gases than shipping it by pipeline.
Redford says she met with U.S. State department officials as well as members of Congress and the Senate and the talks went very well.
She says she continued to promote Alberta's environmental record, including carbon capture and storage projects and new land use policies.
Some Americans say the Keystone XL pipeline would reduce U.S. reliance on crude imports from unfriendly countries and create jobs, but others argue the environmental risks are too high.
TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) filed its Keystone XL proposal more than five years ago and expects a decision will be made soon.
"I actually feel that the discussion that I have been able to have with people, some of whom I have met before who are following this closely and some who I have met for the first time, leads me to believe that people are really fully seized with these issues, have understood the discussion that we have been trying to have out of Alberta and that it is going very well," she said Tuesday.
The US$5.4-billion Keystone project would ship bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Redford suggested she was encouraged by the discussions in the U.S. capital about shipping crude derived from the oilsands by pipeline versus by rail.
"A lot of that product is being transported by rail at the moment, and that is something that is receiving quite a bit of attention in the United States, partly because we know that transportation by rail leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions than a pipeline would," Redford said.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talked about oil pipelines, including Keystone XL, in front of a business crowd in Edmonton Tuesday.
"I was in Texas the other week and I can tell you the support for the Keystone pipeline is huge," he said.
"I am hopeful that the sensible course will be followed."
Flaherty touted the three options for shipping oil to port through Canada as well — west through the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, north to the port of Churchill, Man., by rail and east to New Brunswick by pipeline.
"I think we should do them all, personally. This is the future of the country — it's long term. I think we should move on all fronts." he said. "We need to do something."
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