[Edmonton] In a submission to the National Energy Board (NEB) on April 13, 2007, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) argues that the Keystone pipeline project that is currently before the NEB for approval is not in the public interest.
"We have asked the Board to consider the broader, long-term impacts of approving the pipeline to connect suppliers of bitumen in Alberta to purchasers of bitumen in the United States," says AFL President Gil McGowan.
"We submit that Canadians should be getting the greatest value for their resources and that the Keystone project falls well short of providing maximum value in the areas of jobs, economic opportunity and long-term economic and energy security.
"According to a study by the economic consulting firm, Infometrica, 18,000 jobs would be created in Canada if the bitumen was refined here instead of being shipped to the USA in the proposed pipeline," says McGowan.
"But, more than jobs are at stake here," warns McGowan, "if Keystone goes ahead, we will miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a broad healthy value-added and research industry centered around a rejuvenated refining industry."
"If final approval is given to Keystone, billions of dollars will be spent to retool and renovate current refineries in places like Illinois and the American Gulf Coast," says McGowan. "If, however, the pipeline is not approved, the same oil companies that are currently investing in American refining capacity will likely make very different decisions regarding investment in refineries in Canada - decisions which might be more in the public interest of Canadians."
The Federation also stressed the urgency of dealing with these public interest issues now at the National Energy Board. "The links in the supply chain are being forged now," warns McGowan, "they will become virtually locked into place if major pipelines like the one currently under consideration are approved."
"The National Energy Board cannot pass the buck on the broad public ramifications of Keystone to the federal and provincial governments," concludes McGowan. "Once the Board approves the building of the pipeline, construction will begin. They must either widen the scope of their hearings now to include the broader public interest or adjourn the hearings until such time as the federal and provincial governments and all stakeholders develop a comprehensive plan for the Canadian energy sector."
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The AFL�s submission to the NEB is available at www.afl.org/upload/keystonesubmission.pdf
For more information contact:
Gil McGowan, President Bus: (780) 483-3021 Cell: (780) 218-9888