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Energy and environment top agenda for premiers in DC

The Canadian Press reports today that, “Seven Canadian premiers descend upon the U.S. capital this week for the winter meeting of the influential National Governors Association, where they’ll sit down with their stateside counterparts and some key members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.”

“The premiers of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are in town for the first-ever meeting of the governors association and its Canadian counterpart, the Council of the Federation.”

“The premiers will emphasize to their U.S. hosts that Canada is their ‘No. 1 energy partner at a time when America wants energy independence and energy security,’ (Saskatchewan premier Brad) Wall said, adding they’ll also stress the country’s abundant supply of hydro, uranium and other energy sources.”

“Alberta’s oilsands, which are unpopular among some key congressional Democrats, are certain to be a hot topic of discussion.”

“The premiers will get their moment in the spotlight with two roundtables being held on Saturday focused on energy and the environment.”

“A meeting Friday with Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, could prove the most fruitful for the premiers. With greenhouse gas legislation stalled in Congress …the EPA is threatening to regulate carbon emissions if lawmakers won’t.”

Wall says, “It’ll be very interesting to determine any unintended consequences of the EPA’s greater involvement in the file, especially as it relates to analyzing products from our country to theirs.”

“Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the meeting provides a good opportunity for premiers and governors to share ideas and embrace the importance of freer trade.”

“They’ll meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Sunday, where lingering trade irritants are expected to dominate the discussion, particularly the U.S. country-of-origin food labelling practices. Canada and Mexico have complained to the World Trade Organization that the Americans are violating NAFTA with the practice, and Canadian meat producers have suffered under the rules since many U.S. processors will no longer buy meat or livestock from north of the border.”

A Globe and Mail report has also suggested that the new Buy American deal will also be discussed.

An earlier campaign blog on the meeting between the premiers and the governors can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2918.

A blog on the WTO labelling challenge is at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=1941.

A blog on the varying emission reduction targets set by the provinces is at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2373.