Saskatchewan Premier Touts Canada's Environmental Credentials on U.S. Visit

Article excerpt

Wall highlights Canada's green initiatives

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WASHINGTON - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Canada hasn't done a great job promoting the Keystone XL pipeline as he embarked upon a full court press in the U.S. capital on Thursday to extol the virtues of the controversial project by lauding Canada's green credentials.

"We should have been doing a better job in this country, in this city," he said during a breakfast meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.

Canadian officials, Wall asserted, would have been wise to tell their American counterparts throughout the Keystone XL debate: "Here's the economic case, here's the energy security and oh, by the way, we care about the environment and here's what we're doing with respect to the environmental piece of this."

Wall's remarks came just a few hours before a Republican legislator in the U.S. House of Representatives detailed new efforts to take the decision on the pipeline out of the Obama administration's hands.

Lee Terry, a Nebraska Republican, is preparing legislation that would do away with the need for a presidential permit for Keystone XL. The permit is currently required because the proposed pipeline crosses an international border.

"If we see further delays as we have in the past; Congress is ready to act," Terry said in a statement.

Two Democrats back Terry's bill, as does Republican Fred Upton, who met with Wall on Wednesday. He's the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wall is just the latest Canadian politician to head stateside to make the case for the $7.6 billion pipeline, a project that would carry millions of barrels of Alberta oilsands bitumen a week through six U.S. states to Gulf Coast refineries.

Joe Oliver, the natural resources minister, was in Chicago and Houston this week to make a similar pitch, while Alberta Premier Alison Redford was also in D.C. recently. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird met with Secretary of State John Kerry a month ago.

Wall said officials in both the U.S. and Canada tend to take the bilateral relationship for granted at times, a state of affairs that's caused Keystone XL opposition to become a bigger problem for the Obama administration than necessary.

Canada-U.S. relations need a "little extra tending" on several fronts, Wall said, particularly regarding trade, agriculture and energy issues.

"Like a long-lasting marriage, it's important to have a date night," he said.

After his breakfast event, Wall met later in the day with Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant state secretary who's been leading the State Department's review of the pipeline. An aide to the premier said the discussions with Jones were productive and positive.

On Wednesday, Wall met with mostly Republican lawmakers who already support the pipeline.

But he added he also had a 10-minute "hallway meeting" on Capitol Hill with Ed Markey, a fierce Democratic climate hawk. …