Pipeline approval highlights need for clear plan to keep oil sands jobs in Alberta, says AFL



    If an election is not the right time to unveil a plan to stop jobs from
    being "sent down the pipeline," when is?

    EDMONTON, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Yesterday's National Energy Board's (NEB)
approval of Enbridge's Southern Lights pipeline highlights the need for a
clear plan to keep oil sands jobs in Alberta, says the president of the
province's largest union organization.
    "Albertans have already heard about the Keystone and Alberta Clipper
pipelines," says Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan.
"They're the new pipelines that will act as bitumen superhighways taking raw
bitumen - and Alberta jobs - down to upgraders and refineries in the United
States."
    "But bitumen doesn't flow without lubricating fluids to dilute it. That's
where the Southern Lights pipeline comes in - it will bring diluents up to
Alberta from the States. With our provincial government's quiet blessing, big
oil companies have been building a machine to take jobs and bitumen out of the
province. This pipeline will provide the lubricant that will literally set the
whole process in motion."
    McGowan says it's "shocking that, half-way through the provincial
election campaign, Premier Stelmach has yet to announce a plan designed to
promote Alberta-based value-added oil sands production."
    "This is the guy who said that allowing companies to export raw bitumen
without first upgrading or refining it in Alberta was like 'a farmer selling
off his topsoil,'" says McGowan.
    "He's also the guy who gave a so-called mandate letter to his energy
minister telling him to develop a strategy to promote Alberta-based upgrading
and refining. But so far, all Stelmach has done is stand on the sidelines. If
he continues to stand on the sidelines, pretty soon, the game is going to be
over - and Albertans will be the losers."





For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, AFL President, (780) 483-3021
(office) or (780) 218-9888 (cell)

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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