Pipeline approval highlights need for clear plan to keep oil sands jobs in Alberta, says AFL

EDMONTON - Yesterday's National Energy Board's (NEB) approval of Enbridge's Southern Lights pipeline highlights the need for a clear plan to keep oil sands jobs in Alberta, says the president of the province's largest union organization.

"Albertans have already heard about the Keystone and Alberta Clipper pipelines," says Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan. "They're the new pipelines that will act as bitumen superhighways taking raw bitumen - and Alberta jobs - down to upgraders and refineries in the United States."

"But bitumen doesn't flow without lubricating fluids to dilute it. That's where the Southern Lights pipeline comes in - it will bring diluents up to Alberta from the States. With our provincial government's quiet blessing, big oil companies have been building a machine to take jobs and bitumen out of the province. This pipeline will provide the lubricant that will literally set the whole process in motion."

McGowan says it's "shocking that, half-way through the provincial election campaign, Premier Stelmach has yet to announce a plan designed to promote Alberta-based value-added oil sands production."

"This is the guy who said that allowing companies to export raw bitumen without first upgrading or refining it in Alberta was like "a farmer selling off his topsoil,'" says McGowan.

"He's also the guy who gave a so-called mandate letter to his energy minister telling him to develop a strategy to promote Alberta-based upgrading and refining. But so far, all Stelmach has done is stand on the sidelines. If he continues to stand on the sidelines, pretty soon, the game is going to be over - and Albertans will be the losers."

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For more information contact:

Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.483-3021 (office) or 780.218-9888 (cell)

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