EDMONTON (NEWS 1130) – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government is suspending talks with British Columbia on the purchase of electricity from that province.
She says it’s the first step in Alberta’s fight against the BC government’s move to obstruct the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project.
She says $500 million annually for BC’s coffers hangs in the balance
“We’re prepared to do what it takes to get this pipeline built — whatever it takes,” she told a news conference Thursday after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the phone.
Notley says she told Trudeau, who was in Edmonton for a town-hall meeting, that the federal government needs to act decisively to end the dispute.
She said she thanked Trudeau for his assurance that the project will go ahead, but added the federal government needs to be specific about what it will do to ensure the pipeline’s expansion.
“This is not an Alberta-BC issue. This is a Canada-BC issue. This kind of uncertainty is bad for investment and bad for working people,” she said. “Enough is enough. We need to get these things built.”
The BC government has said it plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off the province’s coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill.
Notley suggested BC has the right to regulate how any spills would be cleaned up, but can’t dictate what flows through pipelines.
BC Premier John Horgan said his government consulted with Alberta and Ottawa about his province’s intentions.
“I don’t see what the problem is,” Horgan said Thursday at a school opening north of Kelowna. “It’s within our jurisdiction to put in place regulations to protect the public interest. “That’s what we are doing.”
He downplayed any possibility of court action or sanctions by Alberta.
“There’s nothing to take to court,” Horgan said. “We are consulting with the people of BC It’s way too premature to talk about those sorts of issues. Sabre-rattling doesn’t get you very far.”
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Meanwhile, Trudeau has said the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion will happen despite British Columbia’s latest attempt to hinder the project.
Speaking on Edmonton talk radio station CHED today, Trudeau said the pipeline, which would take Alberta crude to the West Coast for shipment to Asian markets, is in the national interest and will go ahead.
“That pipeline is going to get built,” Trudeau said. “We will stand by our decision. We will ensure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline gets built.”
He says Canada needs to get Alberta’s oil safely to markets other than the United States, and adds the federal government did the research and has spent billions on spill response.
“The Kinder Morgan pipeline is not a danger to the BC coast,” he said.
Trudeau says it’s normal for provinces to have differences of opinion and that’s why there is a federal government.
“One of the reasons we have a national government to oversee national interests is to step up for the interests of all Canadians and that’s exactly what I am going to do,” he said, without elaborating on what steps he might take.