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Canada goes on Keystone XL PR blitz

April 8, 2013 at 8:35 AM   |   Comments

CALGARY, Alberta, April 8 (UPI) -- A Canadian public-relations drive is aimed at swaying U.S. opinions about the Keystone XL oil pipeline planned from Alberta province, a spokeswoman said.

Neala Barton, a spokeswoman for Alberta Premier Alison Redford, said a series of advertisements in U.S. newspapers are aimed at pushing the Keystone XL pipeline.

"These ads are targeted at key decision-makers in the Washington area," she told The Calgary Herald. "We want them to know about the province's strong environmental record and the huge potential for energy security and job creation that the pipeline would bring."

The provincial government spent more than $77,000 placing ads in influential newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Supporters of the pipeline say it's a boost for North American energy security and the region's economy. Detractors say oil sands, the type of crude oil designated for Keystone XL, comes with too many risks to support.

The U.S. State Department next week hosts a meeting in Nebraska to vet public opinions about a draft review of the project. That review said the environmental threat from oil sands would exist with or without Keystone XL, but rail deliveries of crude oil should be considered when weighing the project's national interest.

Chris Sands, a researcher from think-tank the Hudson Institute, told the Herald the Alberta ads were likely falling on deaf ears.

"We're bombarded by political ads from everybody all the time," he said. "They just sort of wash over you."

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