Premier Rachel Notley says the proposed Keystone XL could hurt the Alberta government’s hopes of upgrading more bitumen at home.
“My position on Keystone is exactly what it has been all along, which is that while we do need to absolutely diversify our markets for the energy industry in Alberta, Keystone is one that might prove to be challenging for our government in our hopeful efforts to increase upgrading activities in Alberta,” Notley said by phone from Toronto. “But I continue to believe that what we can do — and it may ultimately help support the Keystone application as well — is make better decisions about the environment so we can debate pipeline proposals on their merits.”
The Wildrose Official opposition had earlier Thursday accused Notley of hurting Alberta’s energy industry by calling TransCanada’s proposed pipeline a threat. But Notley said a Bloomberg report erroneously suggested she used the word threat to describe Keystone.
“I did not make that comment,” she said.
Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper said Notley’s trip this week to Montreal, Toronto and New York has been marked by “confusing signals” to investors about the province’s position on key energy issues, such as cap-and-trade and carbon taxes.
“She’s not providing, in our opinion, the leadership that’s required to lead and create certainty in our trading partners and investors by going to the United States to attack the industry that drives this country,” Cooper said Thursday at the legislature.
The NDP premier has long been critical of TransCanada’s proposed pipeline that would ship Alberta bitumen to refineries in Texas. Instead, her government advocates creating the capacity for more upgrading and refining in Alberta.
While she spoke against Keystone, Notley did say her government supports the Energy East and TransMountain pipelines. However, she said Kinder Morgan may need to find an alternate port location to win support for its proposed expansion of the TransMountain line.
Notley said she had a “very good discussion” about Energy East during a meeting Thursday with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in Toronto.