Story by Erica Fisher, mygrandeprairienow.com
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed executive orders to move forward construction on both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects. If the TransCanada pipeline goes through, it will move 830,000 barrels of Canadian oil across the American border per day.
Alberta senator Doug Black was vocal with his disappointment when Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone bill in 2015. He calls today a “tremendous day” for the province and Canada, noting the pipeline will connect to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“So there is access off of North America, but importantly, it ensures that the price that we’re going to get for our oil is not continually discounted. We have been in this position for a number of years and we’ve paid a real financial price for that in Alberta.”
Premier Rachel Notley admits the pipeline connecting the Alberta oilsands to existing pipelines in Nebraska wasn’t always a priority for her government. She argues that the province’s economy has dramatically changed, and anything that will help the country get more for its oil is needed right now.
“At the end of the day Keystone is not necessarily about massively increasing production or anything like that, because we do have our climate change plan in place, but what it is about at this point is shipping at a better price.”
When signing the executive order, President Trump said his country would be renegotiating some of the terms. Senator Black says he’s not worried that could mean trouble for Canada.
“I think that the negotiations are going to be tough, but Canadians are tough and we’re smart. We will be prepared and we won’t be naive, and I think at the end of the day, we’re going to find that Canada is in a pretty good position.”
Senator Black has the same mindset about NAFTA, the free trade agreement between the two countries. He argues any deal needs to be refreshed after a period of time.
Both Black and Notley still expect to see heavy push back from environmentalists and First Nations.