"I heart Keystone XL" sign
Shutterstock/Grist

A week after climate activists rallied in Washington, D.C., against plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada’s tar-sands salespeople arrived in the nation’s capital with the opposite pitch.

And the fossil-fuel hawkers from up north seem to think it’s their message that will win over America’s decision makers.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford arrived Friday with her environment minister to attend the National Governors Association winter meeting, where the duo gauged the mood of officials and pitched the proposed pipeline, which would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries and ports.

The way Redford tells it, things went smashingly. “I’m very optimistic,” she told Canada’s Postmedia News. “There is strong bipartisan support for this project.”

She found that American governors and other officials had concerns about the environment and climate change, but those concerns were pretty easily allayed. From Postmedia:

On her first visit to Washington after she became premier 18 months ago, [Redford] quickly discovered that selling points such as energy security, jobs and economic benefits were accepted as given by U.S. officials. The main issues of contention are still environmental with climate change heading the list.

They want to know what Canada and Alberta is doing to reduce its emissions, she said.

She said she has emphasized the $3.5 billion Alberta has spent on carbon capture and storage, sustainable development and independent monitoring of the oilsands and the fact that Alberta is one of the only jurisdictions in North America that puts a price on carbon. Its $15 carbon fee has since 2007 raised $312 million for development of clean energy technology.

“They know what our environmental record is,” she said. “They are satisfied with that record. Quite frankly in many cases governors on both sides of the aisle say, ‘you know your record is stronger than ours is.’”

Well, in that case, by all means please do send down that sticky tar-sands oil, you environmental champions you.