National Energy Board rules against labour motion to subpoena witnesses from Big Oil

CALGARY - Under heavy cross-examination from union lawyers, the man in charge of the proposed Keystone mega-pipeline admitted he doesn't really know how much raw bitumen from Alberta will be shipped down his pipeline to refineries in the U.S.

In response to questions from lawyers representing the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and the Communication Energy Paperworkers union (CEP), Robert Jones, Vice President of TransCanada Pipelines, said the amount of bitumen going down the pipeline will be up to oil companies contracting with the pipeline, not TransCanada as owner of the pipeline.

Jones' admission was made shortly after National Energy Board dismissed a motion from the AFL and CEP to subpoena witnesses from Big Oil. The Board ruled that evidence from oil companies with contracts to use the pipeline would not be necessary for the purposes of the hearing currently underway at the NEB's office in Calgary.

"This really makes you wonder who's looking after the public interest," said AFL president Gil McGowan. "The pipeline company says it's only the oil companies who can tell us how much unrefined Alberta bitumen will be shipped to the U.S. - and yet the so-called watch dog agency says it's not necessary to make Big Oil answer those questions. This is no way to make pubic policy."

McGowan was originally slated to appear before the Board on Wednesday (tomorrow), but is now scheduled to give evidence on Thursday, along with Tom Pearson a retired Dow Chemical executive and Diana Gibson, research director of the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute.

McGowan, Pearson and Gibson will all argue that the Keystone pipeline will result in the loss of literally thousands of potential Alberta jobs as upgraders and refineries are built in the U.S. instead of Alberta.

The NEB hearings on TransCanada's application to build the Keystone pipeline will be held in the NEB Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, 444 Seventh Avenue S.W. Calgary AB. Hearings start at 8:30 a.m. and wrap up at 1:30 p.m. each day.

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For more information call:

Gil McGowan, AFL President at 780.218-9888 (cell)

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