The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) on Wednesday launched an appeal to the Federal Cabinet of the National Energy Board's decision to allow construction of the Keystone Pipeline in Alberta.
The pipeline is designed to take the oil resulting from a three-fold increase in Alberta oil sands production and ship it primarily to U.S. markets.
"Nothing less than the economic and energy sovereignty of Canada is at stake," said CEP President Dave Coles in the wake of last month's NEB decision. "The Keystone Pipeline will exclusively serve U.S. markets, create permanent employment for very few Canadians, reduce our energy security, and hinder investment and job creation in the Canadian energy sector."
CEP is calling on Cabinet to reject the NEB recommendations and refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. It says the committee should hold hearings on the impact of exporting our unprocessed energy resources and look at ways to improve the transparency and accountability of the NEB.
"We think parliamentarians and the public need to have the chance to examine this pipeline proposal in depth and in the context of the overall good of the country and of Canadians," said Coles.
The 150,000-member CEP represents more than 35,000 workers in the oil, gas and chemical industry in Ontario, Alberta and several other provinces. CEP was a key witness in the Keystone pipeline hearings held in Calgary over the last year.
Keystone is the first in a series of new pipeline proposals seeking NEB approval to ship raw bitumen (crude oil) from the tar sands of Alberta directly to the United States. Keystone would be able to carry up to 500,000 barrels per day while the total export goal from all pipelines has been set by industry at five-million barrels per day within a decade.