Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski told a Washington, D.C., conference today she has been "stunned" by opposition in the U.S. to the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would cross the Midwest from Canada to Gulf of Mexico refineries. The line would carry what environmentalists have called "dirty oil" from Alberta's strip-mined tar sands. Others in the U.S. object to the potential dangers of spills along the pipeline, to be built by TransCanada Inc.
In response to a question from the Canadian American Business Council, Alaska's Murkowski spoke at length on the $7-billion project, and Alberta's oilsands, at a Women in Washington conference sponsored by The Atlantic magazine.
"Canada is our neighbor, our friend, our best trading partner and happens to be sitting right there above us, able to transport a resource that we need," she told the high-powered crowd of lobbyists, diplomats and lawmakers past and present.
"You're not putting crude in a vessel and sending it across thousands of miles of water; you're putting it in a pipeline, the safest way to transport .... If we're not going to produce (oil) here, I want to know that we're getting it from someone who likes us, who we like, and who has high environmental standards and is going to be there for the long haul with us."
Murkowski also defended the carbon-intensive methods used to extract oilsands crude. The American environmental movement is opposed to Keystone XL in large part because of the oilsands, and has urged the U.S. State Department to block the project to help put the boots to "dirty oil."
"People don't like mining, people don't like extraction, but it is our reality," she said.
Read more. TransCanada is a leader in Alaska's push for a natural gas pipeline link between the North Slope and the Lower 48.
Murkowski wants you to know she isn't all about fossil fuels, though. At the same event today, she expressed fears that the Solyndra scandal would jeopardize all federal assistance for solar energy development. From The Hill:
Murkowski, who called Solyndra a "horrible failure," defended federal loan guarantees.
"The loan guarantee program is something that I supported and I still support the loan guarantees and a federal role, to a certain extent, when we are trying to build out and help accommodate ... different industries, whether it is in nuclear or whether it is in the area of renewables," Murkowski said.