Many pro-oil Canadians say the U.S. environmental lobby is harming their livelihoods without scientific basis.
Beneath the peat bogs and boreal forests in the northern part of this Canadian province are among the largest oil reserves in the world. Canadians have been getting it out of the prairies for over 100 years and piping much of it to the United States, which imports more oil from Canada than anywhere else.
But President Obama's denial of a permit for a new oil pipeline from Canada to Texas that has been worked on for years has angered many here who claim that the U.S. environmental lobby is harming their livelihoods without scientific basis.
They even accuse it of illegally assisting Canadian environmental groups and say it's time to scrap plans to sell more oil to America and step up efforts to redirect the pipeline to the Pacific Coast and energy-hungry markets overseas.
"You've got a friendly source of oil from a friendly country," says welder Rob Tessier after lunching at the Pipeline Alley Cafe in Nisku. "If you don't want it, we'll send it to an Asian market."
Environmental groups say it's time for Canada to reassess its exploitation of its energy resources. They say oil pipelines are encroaching on sensitive lands and are improving access to oil when the world should be putting more effort into solar power and other forms of renewable energy.
Canada must stop "putting all our eggs in one basket," says Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada.