WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- The Canadian government needs a level playing field in the natural gas sector as Washington pumps funds into an Alaskan gas pipeline, Canadian lawmakers say.
Canada is pushing for its Mackenzie Valley pipeline to the Lower 48, while Alaska lobbies for its own natural gas pipeline to the same markets.
Bob McLeod, the investment and industry minister for the Northwest Territories, is meeting with top lawmakers in Washington, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a fact-finding mission on the Alaskan route.
"I'm not here to convince the United States government (to back off its plans)," he told the Canadian newspaper the National Post. "I want to make sure that we convince our government (to level the playing field)."
McLeod said the Canadian government faces an uphill battle as measures making their way through Capitol Hill could bring financial support for the Alaskan pipeline to more than $40 billion.
Though natural gas is a key focal point in North America as the region moves away from foreign energy, both projects have faced obstacles in terms of soaring gas prices and government bureaucracy.
Both projects, meanwhile, face a grim future as technological developments in the extraction of gas from shale deposits diminish the urgency for conventional resources.
Meanwhile, Environmental Groups Want Canadian Oil Sands Permits Blocked
Several pipeline companies are pressing ahead with plans to transport additional volumes from Alberta's oil sands to refineries in the US.
However, environmental groups are urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to block the permits needed to transport the oil across the Canadian border to US delivery points.
The Alberta Clipper pipeline, sponsored by Enbridge, began construction this month and is expected to start deliveries in mid-2010 to connections in Superior, Wisconsin.