Alberta premier puts forth legislation to limit flow of energy products to B.C.
Alberta has introduced legislation to restrict the flow of oil and gas to B.C. in the latest move in the Trans Mountain Pipeline battle and the premier says the province will do whatever it takes to get the project built.
The legislation would give the energy minister the ability to tell truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators how much oil, gasoline and natural gas can leave the province.
“Let there be no doubt, Alberta will do what it takes to do to see this federally approved pipeline built for the benefit of workers and families,” said Notley on Monday before introducing the bill at the legislature. "The bill sends a clear message, we will use every tool at our disposal to defend Albertans (and) to defend our resources."
Alberta and B.C. have been at odds over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to the west coast and B.C. has been fighting it in the courts even though it was approved by the federal government in 2016.
The pipeline expansion would triple the amount of bitumen that is shipped on the line and B.C.’s premier, John Horgan, has said there are still concerns relating to oil spills and protecting B.C.'s coastline.
Kinder Morgan announced it was halting non-essential spending on the project and said it would give the federal government until the end of May to reassure investors that the pipeline would be completed.
Prime Minister Trudeau brokered a meeting between Notley and Horgan on the weekend and said after the session that ‘It will be built.’
Trudeau also promised to deploy financial and legislative tools to ensure the project goes ahead and said the pipeline expansion is of ‘vital strategic interest to Canada.’
Premier Notley says project delays are costing the country about $40 million a day in lost revenue and that Alberta will put pressure on B.C. to ‘come around and focus on what this pipeline actually means.’
About 80,000 barrels of refined fuels go to B.C. each day and if the bill is passed, Notely says it would give Alberta the power to decide what is shipped and where it goes to ensure maximum profitability.
“By requiring any company exporting natural gas, crude oil or refined fuels from Alberta to acquire a licence at the minister of energy's discretion,” said Notely. “This legislation will be there if Alberta needs it. I remain confident that we will not have to use it but I’m also making sure that we are ready.”
“The continued delays in Trans Mountain is having an effect on all of Canada because we, as a country, are unable to get fair value for our own natural resources,” said Davis Sheremata from MEG Energy.
B.C.’s Environment Minister says his province will take a look at the legislation and defend British Columbians’ interests in the courts if necessary.
"We believe they have no legal authority to do so and if they do that, we’ll examine what legislation they bring in and if we believe it’s flawed legally, we’ll certainly take them to court," said B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman.
Reducing oil flows from Alberta to B.C. could lead to immediate gas price spikes at the pumps and other higher costs.
Those who transport energy products without a licence could face fines of up to $1 million a day for individuals and $10 million a day for corporations.
(With files from The Canadian Press & Alesia Fieldberg)