CALGARY — Alberta’s premier says she wants at least one new “drama-free” pipeline built that will carry the province’s oil to new markets.
Rachel Notley told delegates to an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention on Thursday that she plans to achieve that through ongoing discussions with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
It is essential for Alberta, with its reliance on resource revenue, to get access to overseas customers, she said.
Canada’s premiers signed a Canadian Energy Strategy in July to get energy products to global buyers.
“This … strategy will also help … as we address a key challenge facing the energy industry in this province, which is the need to improve our access to new world markets, which means essentially getting at least one new pipeline built to tidewater,” Notley told the association.
She later told reporters she has never suggested she is opposed to pipelines as a general rule, but has never advocated for the Keystone XL line through the United States, because there was little chance of influencing American decision-makers.
It also goes against the NDP’s goal to keep domestic jobs.
“Keystone is about providing massive capacity to get bitumen to a competing refinery hub … a refining hub that competes with any potential development that we could hope for here in Alberta or in Canada.”
During a campaign stop in Iowa this week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she opposed the controversial pipeline project.
The former secretary of state said she wanted to outline her position now after deciding the debate over the pipeline had become a distraction to larger efforts to fight climate change.
Notley said Alberta needs to prepare for renewed growth in the energy industry as prices improve, but only in tandem with greater efforts on the environment.
“It’s long past due for the government of Alberta to clean up its environmental act.
“If we don’t get it right on this issue, quite frankly, a solution is going to be imposed upon us sooner or later by others — by a federal government and/or our markets, which will increasingly insist that energy products that they buy be mined and processed responsibly.”
With oil prices currently under US$50 a barrel, the Alberta government has faced criticism for moving forward with a royalty review even though rates wouldn’t be affected until the end of next year.
Notley defended the move in her speech as necessary for the government to collect and save an “appropriate share” of Alberta’s resource wealth.
“The royalty review is about modernizing and updating our system, so it fits our future energy industry instead of its past,” she said.
“This review is about ensuring that as prices recover, we collect and begin to save an appropriate share of our own resource wealth in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund for the future of our children and our grandchildren.”
Notley expects to have the review completed by the end of the year.
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press