With no commitment to Alberta-based refining, Kearl should not be seen as economic saviour



    
    "When will Stelmach government stop energy companies from shipping
    Alberta jobs down the pipeline?" asks labour leader
    

    EDMONTON, May 26 /CNW/ - If Imperial Oil's Kearl Lake project represents
the future of the oil sands, then Albertans should be very concerned, says the
president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
    "Kearl Lake will create a couple of thousand short- to medium-term
construction jobs - and in the current economic climate, that's a welcome
thing," says Gil McGowan.
    "But over the longer term, this project is deeply troubling because it's
focused exclusively on the extraction and export of raw bitumen. The real
money - and the real jobs - in this business are in upgrading and refining.
Unfortunately Kearl will be sending all of those benefits down the pipeline to
Exxon refineries in the US Midwest and Gulf Coast."
    McGowan points to a study released by the AFL in March of this year -
entitled Lost Down the Pipeline - which shows that energy companies are
expanding U.S.-based bitumen refining capacity at a furious pace.
    In the report, the AFL identifies ten refineries in eight American states
that are currently being re-tooled to process bitumen from Alberta. Once
completed, these refineries will have the combined capacity to handle 2.8
million barrels per day - more than double the total current output from the
oil sands.
    "Given what's happening south of the border, it's starting to look like
Kearl is a sign of things to come for Albertans," says McGowan. "We'll get the
environmental consequences and the penny-on-the-dollar royalties, while the
Americans will get the long-term jobs and revenue that come with value-added
production."
    McGowan says the big question that Albertans should be asking now is
"when will the Stelmach government start using its legislative power to stop
energy companies from shipping Alberta jobs down the pipeline?"
    McGowan is currently in Ottawa with other provincial and national union
leaders attending a meeting of the Canadian Labour Congress executive council.
Print and radio reporters interested in talking to McGowan about the Kearl
project can reach him by phone. McGowan will also make himself available for
television interviews for any station that has affiliates in Ottawa.





For further information:

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

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