Redford sees rail problems entering the Keystone XL debate

Some US officials raised greenhouse gas concerns as increasing amounts of Alberta’s heavy crude oil move by rail while approval of the Keystone XL pipeline’s cross-border permit continues to be delayed, Premier Allison Redford said after concluding her fifth Washington visit to lobby for the project.

“A lot of that product is being transported by rail at the moment, and that is something that is receiving quite a bit of attention in the United States, partly because we know that transportation by rail leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions than a pipeline would,” The Financial Post reported Redford as saying.

The premier met with officials at the US Department of State, which is expected to conclude its environmental impact statement early in 2014 on TransCanada Corp.’s revised application for a cross-border permit, as well as US Senate and House leaders.

The proposed 1,179-mile pipeline would move diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to US Gulf Coast refineries for processing. It also would provide capacity to transport lighter crude from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Montana.

US Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), who cosponsored legislation with Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) expressing support for Keystone XL, said it should have been approved years ago as she met with Redford.

“I’m going to do everything I can, working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to get the pipeline built, use the great refining capacity of Louisiana and Texas, and harness the capacity for investment in clean environmental technology to help produce the energy that [North America] needs,” Landrieu said.

Redford also met with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), who chairs the committee’s Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.

“Beyond just the Keystone XL pipeline, we are going to need to build many more pipelines, transmission lines, and private sector infrastructure projects as part of the architecture of abundance to keep up with the remarkable pace of US and Canadian energy production,” said Upton, who cosponsored with committee member Gene Upton (D-Tex.) HR-3301 which would standardize cross-border permit reviews for new energy infrastructure.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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