Union calls for reversal of Keystone XL approval

OTTAWA, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Canada's largest energy workers' union is on Parliament Hill today to tell Members of Parliament why the Keystone XL pipeline approval should be re-opened and reversed.

"The whole development model for massive exports of raw bitumen, and the regulatory process that ignored the real issues has been botched from the start," says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers President Dave Coles.

"We are saying to the government that they should stop lobbying for XL in Washington and instead reopen this issue in Canada with a Parliamentary review."

The union argued today that while pressure grows on President Obama to not give US approval for the pipeline, the Canadian government is also required to reconsider the XL Pipeline because construction of the pipeline did not commence within the period required by the federal permit that authorized XL.

The XL pipeline is "a jobs killer" in Canada, said Coles, citing an Informetrica study that the increased export of Alberta bitumen by Keystone XL will cost the Canadian economy an estimated 40,500 potential direct and indirect jobs.  He also pointed to an Alberta Federation of Labour study which found that nine bitumen upgrader projects have been postponed or delayed while pipeline export capacity now exceeds all new production from the Alberta Bitumen Sands until 2020.

"These jobs are literally going down the pipe with the 900,000 barrels per day of unrefined bitumen to the US while we are importing our crude oil for Eastern Canada," he added.

The XL and other large export pipelines are also at the root of the environmental issues that will draw hundreds of protesters to Ottawa on September 26.  "The pace of development driven by these pipelines is plainly unsustainable," said Coles.  "The issues of greenhouse gasses, land and water use, and impacts on our First Nations communities must be addressed."

Coles said today that the union will join its allies for a demonstration against the pipeline next Monday in Ottawa.  "Prime Minister Harper should not be surprised that there is growing public opposition to our bitumen exports with demonstrations in Washington and Ottawa against the XL pipeline, because neither the National Energy Board nor the government has faced up to the issues of jobs and sustainability," he said.

The 130,000-member CEP represents more than 35,000 workers in the oil, gas and chemical industry in Ontario, Alberta and several other provinces.

SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

Dave Coles at 613-299-5628 or 613-230-5200
Gaétan Ménard at 819-775-6980 or 613-230-5200

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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