Alberta tables legislation to limit oil, gas shipments
EDMONTON — The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would give the energy minister power to restrict the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas leaving the province.
Once passed, Marg McCuaigBoyd would be able to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much product could be shipped and when. Violators would face fines of up to $1 million a day for individuals and $10 million a day for corporations.
“The bill sends a clear message: we will use every tool at our disposal to defend Albertans (and) to defend our resources,” Notley said Monday before introducing the proposed law in the legislature.
Existing pipelines are near capacity, and the bill aims to give Alberta the power to adjust what is shipped and where it goes to ensure maximum profitability, she said.
Alberta is locked in a dispute with British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline. An expansion to the West Coast has been approved by the federal government, but B.C. is fighting it in the courts.
Notley said the proposed legislation is not punishing B.C. for the Kinder Morgan project’s delay, which she says costs Canada $40 million a day in lost revenue due to market bottlenecks and higher shipping fees.
But she said Alberta is “very committed to putting pressure on B.C. to come around and focus on what this pipeline actually means.”
B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said his province will carefully examine the legislation Alberta has tabled.
“I’m not counting on Alberta taking extreme or unlawful actions, but if they do we’re prepared to defend British Columbians’ interests with every legal means available and in the courts,” he said.
Heyman said the government would consider court action if the legislation were to cause gasoline prices in B.C. to spike.
B.C.’s attorney general, David Eby, said B.C. is prepared to sue Alberta if the law punishes his province.
“We know, as I’m sure they know, that the constitution forbids discrimination around energy between provinces,” Eby said.
About 80,000 barrels a day of refined fuels go to British Columbia.
Much of B.C.’s energy from Alberta comes from shipments on the existing Trans Mountain line from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. Reducing oil flows could lead to immediate gas price spikes at the pumps, along with other higher costs.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has been fighting the expansion, even though the federal government approved the $7.4-billion project in November 2016. Horgan has said there are still concerns relating to oil spills and protecting B.C.’s coastline.
The Kinder Morgan project would triple the amount of oil shipped on the current line, but has faced repeated court challenges and permit delays.
Kinder Morgan announced earlier this month that it is pulling back on spending for the project and has given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government until May 31 to give a clear signal that the project will proceed.
VANCOUVER — Several First Nations and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby have joined together to redouble their opposition to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan says the expansion project “short circuits” the legal process and civil disobedience against the pipeline it will only continue to grow.
Corrigan says he’s embarrassed that Canada’s prime minister and a premier of our country are kowtowing to an American multina- tional oil company that isn’t playing by the rules in its effort to push through the pipeline.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the premiers of B.C. and Alberta on Sunday over the impasse and after the meeting he promised financial and legislative tools to ensure the expansion could proceed.
Union of B.C. Indian Chief’s Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of Penticton, one of several First Nations voices at a news conference today, says opposition to the project is broad-based and en- trenched.
He says First Nations have a constitutional and legal right to protect the health and well-being of their loved ones and if there was ever a spill of bitumen on land or water it could be catastrophic.
Kinder Morgan has stopped all non-essential spending on the pipeline while the federal government tries to reassure the company’s investors that the project will move forward despite opposition from the government of British Columbia.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, left, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, speaks as William George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and a guardian at the watch house near Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby facility, listens during a news...