Notley suspends talks between Alberta and B.C. over electricity purchase
Premier Rachel Notley says her government is moving ahead with measures against B.C. in response to that province’s attempt to impose a ban on crude flowing to the coast.
In a media conference on Thursday, Notley announced she will be suspending all talks to move forward with an formal electricity purchase contract between Alberta and B.C.
She says it will end up costing the B.C. an estimated $500M.
“This is just a first step. In the coming days and weeks, there may be more,” Notley warned. “We are prepared to do whatever it takes to get this pipeline built. But in the meantime, and instead, the federal government can intervene. They can put an end to this conflict. They can put an end to this undue delay.”
Notley says the only body that can decide what goes into pipelines is the federal government.
“The B.C. government has no authority to make regulations or anything else about what does in those pipelines and the federal government needs to make that very clear.”
Notley said that she's spoken with Premier John Horgan since the proposal was made public.
"I made the points that I've made. I walked him through what it was that they had laid out, where we agreed with them in terms of our support to ensure safety at every possible place."
She also told Horgan about why it was unacceptable for Alberta.
"I let him know that this was not the end of it. That we could not allow that piece to stand."
The leader of Alberta's Opposition, Jason Kenney, made some suggestions on Wednesday about what he would do to penalize B.C., but Notley says his ideas would hurt Albertans.
"The kinds of things that Mr. Kenney is proposing is akin to 'cutting off your face to spite your nose'. It is something the industry doesn't want and something that would actually hurt Albertans. That's not what we're doing. Moreover, what we are responding to right now is a very concrete issue that developed within the last 48 hours."
Earlier this week, the B.C. government released a document regarding pipelines that included a proposal to restrict shipments of crude through them until a comprehensive study on contingency plans was completed.
Many saw the move as a push against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, a project that was approved by the federal government in 2016.
The proposal was not met with a warm response from Notley, who called it an 'attack' on Alberta's economy and workers in the province.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from Winnipeg on Wednesday night, added that the Trans Mountain project is safe for the environment.
"I grew up spending my summers in B.C. My family is from B.C. I grew up on that coast and if I though there was a danger to the beauty of British Columbia's coast, we would not have approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline."
Mayor Naheed Nenshi also waded into the fight on Thursday, saying B.C. pulled a dangerous stunt with the proposal.
He added that without Trans Mountain, B.C. would need to get tankers to the Port of Burnaby, which he says would be even more dangerous.
Nenshi also said that gas prices in B.C. would also take a hit.
"I would encourage the B.C. government to actually read the NEB ruling that talks in great detail about what they claim to be concerned about, about the risk of bitumen spills. I'll also remind them that when you fill up your gas in the lower mainland, where do you think that gas comes from? It came through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline."
The B.C. government hasn't made any comment on Alberta's move to suspend talks.