Deal to pipe bitumen to USA generates criticism

Many are criticizing Premier Stelmach after a deal to pipe more bitumen to the US was approved by the National Energy Board.

Enbridge now has approval to begin construction on the $2 billion Canadian portion of the Alberta Clipper.

The deal was approved on Friday and many critics believe it will send more than just raw bitumen to the US.

The Alberta Federation of Labour argues the Premier should have prevented the deal so the oil could have been refined in the province.

"We're talking literally thousands and thousands of jobs that could have been created here in Alberta, but will instead go to places in the American mid-west and the American Gulf Coast," said Gil McGowan with the Alberta Federation of Labour.

A Tory spokesperson told CTV News that Alberta doesn't have the capacity to refine all of its bitumen. They say about two thirds of the oilsands drawn from Alberta are currently refined within the province.

The Premier's office says as more upgraders are built, more local companies can refine crude oil.

The Canadian stretch of the pipeline will run from Enbridge's terminal near Hardisty to the American border crossing near Gretna, Manitoba.

The bitumen will be piped to Superior, Wisonsin and will then be refined in the USA.

This is the second project to be approved in the last six months to pipe crude oil into the USA. The Keystone Pipeline was approved in September.

Construction on the Alberta Clipper is expected to be complete by December 2009. News Staff, Sun Feb 24 2008

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