XL Keystone questions remain

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Pipeline project involves Alberta oil

U.S. president Donald Trump’s recent executive order to move forward with the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline is good news for Central Alberta, says area MLA Jason Nixon.

“It’s something Canada and Alberta have been working towards for a long time,” Nixon, the Wildrose MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, told the Gazette. “In the last few years we have put a lot of effort into it and it appears it was not going to happen under the last administration.

“Any ability to get our product to tidewater is a good thing for our energy industry. Certainly we are moving towards getting the project built, which is definitely a positive thing for our province. It’s exciting.”

However, Nixon also says Trump’s comments that he plans to “renegotiate” the terms of the pipeline project raise some questions.

“We are going to have to wait to hear from the people involved in the project what exactly ërenegotiate’ means,” he said. “It’s hard to say whether that is concerning or not until we understand what the renegotiation means or what target the president has.

“I don’t want to prejudge it. It is kind of a vague statement to know exactly what he means. It could be something specifically within the contract or border agreements. I just don’t know what it is.”

Trump signed the executive order on Jan. 24.

Although Trump said, “we are going to renegotiate some of the terms” of the Keystone deal, he did not say what the negotiations could entail.

The 1,900-kilometre TransCanada Keystone pipeline would carry Alberta crude to Nebraska, where it would then move to Texas for refinement.

Construction of the Canadian portion of the pipeline could create about 4,500 jobs, according to published reports.

The approval is good news for Alberta’s economy, Premier Rachel Notley said in a teleconference following the Trump signing. “This is about lower cost transportation and greater return for Albertans,” said Notley. “It gives us greater options. It is going to create good jobs here in Alberta and diversify our economy. More energy workers at our local hotels is a good thing. More equipment out in the fields is a good thing.

“We welcome this news from the U.S. and we will support our energy companies however we can to make sure that this pipeline moves forward.

“While discussions around Keystone XL progress, we are focused on building Canadian pipelines to Canadian tidewater. You can’t have only one customer. You have to diversify.”

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean called the signing “great news for Alberta and our oil and gas sector.”

“It’s proof that our industry does not need to be punished with caps and carbon taxes to get access to tidewater,” Jean said in a release.

“The U.S. State Department acknowledged for years that this pipeline would be good for job creation while protecting the environment. Unfortunately, the independent approval process was politicized by the previous administration.”

“I don’t want to prejudge it. It is kind of a vague statement to know exactly what he (Trump) means.”Jaosn NixonArea MLA

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Dan Singleton

Dan Singleton is the editor of the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 1994. He covers news, municipal politics and community events in Mountain View County. He is also a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.