AFL Steps Up Efforts to Stop National Energy Board from Approving
"Job Sucking" Pipelines
CALGARY, Nov. 5 /CNW/ - Starting today and continuing tomorrow, lawyers
representing the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will grill executives from
Enbridge Pipelines on their plans to build yet another massive "bitumen
highway" to refineries and upgraders in the United States.
The cross-examination will take place at the offices of National Energy
Board in Calgary as the Board considers Enbridge's application to build a new
pipeline, dubbed the Alberta Clipper. If approved, the Clipper will have the
capacity to transport more than 600,000 barrels of diluted bitumen from the
Alberta oil sands to buyers south of the border each day.
"We're not opposed to new pipelines," says AFL president Gil McGowan.
"But the big question is: what are these pipelines going to be used to
transport? We should be shipping value-added products, not diluted bitumen. If
these pipelines end up being nothing more than bitumen highways, then we'll be
exporting literally thousands of high-paying, family-sustaining jobs along
with our oil. That's simply not in the best interests of Albertans."
McGowan says the Stelmach government's recently announced plan to take an
undetermined amount of bitumen in lieu of royalties and make it available for
domestic upgrading is an "interesting idea" - but he says it doesn't come
close to being the kind of comprehensive "Alberta first" upgrading strategy
that the province needs.
"We'll be asking the Board to reject Enbridge's development application
or at least delay making a final ruling until the Alberta government has put a
comprehensive policy in place," says McGowan.
"If this project is approved - on top of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone
project that was approved in September - then it will be game over. Big energy
companies will start investing in U.S. upgrading capacity and Alberta will
have missed its opportunity. We simply can't afford to let these pipelines
proceed until Alberta has put a value-added policy framework in place. If the
pipelines come first, developing a policy will be like closing the barn door
after the horse has already gotten out."
In addition to challenging the Alberta Clipper, the AFL is supporting the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada in its efforts to
lobby the Federal cabinet to stop the Keystone pipeline from winning final
approval. The cabinet has to give final approval to all recommendations from
the NEB - something it hasn't yet done with the Keystone project.
McGowan will be available to talk with the media outside the NEB hearing
room today after 11:00 a.m. and tomorrow morning. The hearings are being held
at the NEB offices on the 2nd floor, 444 - 7th Avenue SW, Calgary.
For further information:
For further information: Gil McGowan, AFL President @ (780) 218-9888