Education Key to the Future of Alberta Heavy Oil

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( — June 11, 2014) Calgary, ALBERTA — Premier Dave Hancock opened the 2014 SPE Heavy Oil-Canada Conference in Calgary with a keynote address. He told the audience that Alberta has an impact right across Canada as well as around the globe. Many energy innovations are pioneered right in Alberta. That’s why Albertans and the energy industry companies who work there continue to be at the forefront as the petroleum industry grows and evolves. 

He stated, “Alberta is a place of unparalleled natural beauty and we take that very seriously. The province works very hard to keep its air, water and land clean so our children and grandchildren can enjoy it as much as we do today.”

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline especially in British Columbia where many are concerned with the environmental issues that could damage or destroy natural areas.

When asked about the importance of educating the general public about the pipeline projects Alberta Premier Hancock responded, “We have to do a better job as governments and as private sector in order to engage the public in understanding exactly what’s happening and why it has value.”

Premier Hancock mentioned as an example the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that would be built from Alberta tar sands to Kitimit on the British Columbia coastline. It is widely known that this project is opposed by the majority of first nations and British Columbians.

Premier Hancock stated that, “From the perspective of Northern Gateway a perfect example and in northern Alberta with first nations we have to engage earlier, we have to engage on an opportunities agenda so people can understand what the impact is, what the value is and why we should be going ahead with it.”

He also brought out the fact that scientific evidence proves that shipping oil by pipeline is a safer option to be environmentally responsible than by traditional means. He said that it is important to realize that Alberta is very sensitive to environmental issues.
Premier Hancock stated, “The province does care about its environment. We are not this black mark on the world map. We are actually a leader in that area.”

He quantified how he personally spent eighteen years practicing law before he got elected. He acted for environmental technology companies who were selling environmental technologies around the world.

Premier Hancock further stated, “We do not take a back seat on that! But it’s easier to blast a picture of ducks landing on a tailing pond, than it is to explain the technical science and why we have a fairly safe process and the probability of disaster is very low, and we know what to do if that happens.”

The future for pipeline projects will ultimately require educating the general public so that they can see the benefits it will have not only for the environment but also for the Canadian economy and future generations.

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