Alberta labour group against Keystone pipeline

Alberta's largest labour organization told MPs Thursday why it thinks the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is a bad idea.

The Alberta Federation of Labour and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada have in the past likened the pipeline to a massive "bitumen superhighway" taking Canadian resources and jobs south of the border.

"Members of the Alberta and federal governments have been acting like sales executives for pipeline company TransCanada, travelling to the U.S. to persuade Americans what a great idea the raw bitumen pipeline will be, but they are ignoring what's best for Alberta and Canada," said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

He expects Keystone XL will add only about a dozen permanent jobs here.

"We have a one-time chance to take control of our own resources and build a value-added refining industry here. What we have instead is a mad rush to approve every application to develop the oil sands and ship our raw resources and good jobs, down the pipeline," McGowan said.

The Keystone XL project is the third expansion of TransCanada's four-stage Keystone pipeline system, which has some 83% customer commitment for 910,000 barrels per day for over 20 years. Keystone XL will transport oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The first phase began commercial deliveries to U.S. midwest markets in 2010. The Gulf Coast Expansion - or Keystone XL - if approved, will add another 500,000 barrels a day.

The Obama administration has said it will decide by the end of the year whether to permit the pipeline.

Toronto Sun, Thurs Sept 22 2011
Byline: Carol Christian

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