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Wall to talk up carbon capture in Washington

Wall to talk up carbon capture in WashingtonSaskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks in a Sept. 9, 2013 photo in Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is going to Washington to highlight his province's work on carbon capture and storage.

Wall is to be a panellist at a coal technology symposium of U.S. legislators and energy experts Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

He says he'll talk about carbon capture and storage research that has taken place in Saskatchewan over the last 30 years, as well as about a project at the Boundary Dam power station near Estevan.

"We're trying to commercialize that technology through SaskPower and sell it around the world. You know, benefit from it here but maybe expand its use around the world, so we'll promote that clean coal technology," Wall said Monday at the legislature in Regina.

The plan is to capture CO2 emissions from the coal-fired power plant and sell the carbon dioxide to oil and gas companies, which use it to push more oil out of the ground in what's called enhanced oil recovery.

The facility was supposed to start storing carbon emitted from the power plant in April, but SaskPower said last month that it will be delayed. The Crown corporation said there have been some unexpected findings on the power plant side. The plant is being rebuilt and the utility says there have been some design changes and retrofitting delays.

It preferred not to give a new date for the startup, but Wall said he expects that will happen in June.

"The new technology is on time and on budget and it works. It's the old generating facility (that's delayed), because it has to generate coal power in the first place, the old generating facility we found asbestos," he said.

"Our story is solid ... any delays in the project are on the old technology, not the new carbon capture unit."

Wall says he also plans to make another push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and to talk about the negative impact of a country-of-origin labelling law for meat that recently passed in the United States.

The premier says the labelling law is "a discriminatory trade practice" against Canadian livestock producers.

An insistence on country-of-origin labels is blamed for cutting Canadian meat exports to the U.S. by half, as some U.S. companies have said they can't afford to sort, label and store meat from Canada differently than meat from domestic animals. Opponents say it also violates free-trade agreements.

It's not the first time Wall has gone to Washington to talk about carbon capture or Keystone. He made a similar trip at the same time last year to promote the multibillion-dollar pipeline that would carry Alberta oilsands bitumen to Gulf Coast refineries and to extol Canada's green credentials.

Wall also touted the $1.3-billion Boundary Dam project on that trip as proof of Canada's intent to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

"Again, we should say to Americans, look we know we need to do better, but who has a record better than this?

"When you deal with Canada with energy, you are dealing with a place that prizes environmental sustainability of energy development."

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