Pipe­line war es­ca­lates as B.C. threat­ens to sue Al­berta over oil block­ade threat

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Bill 12 at heart of di­vide

Al­berta’s New Demo­cratic Party gov­ern­ment passed a bill Wed­nes­day that it says will give the prov­ince new pow­ers to re­strict the flow of en­ergy re­sources to Bri­tish Columbia.

Bill 12 — the Preserving Canada’s Eco­nomic Pros­per­ity Act — au­tho­rizes the gov­ern­ment to is­sue li­cences for any com­pany ex­port­ing en­ergy prod­ucts from Al­berta. The prov­ince can use this as a tool to iden­tify com­pa­nies ship­ping prod­ucts to Bri­tish Columbia, in­clud­ing nat­u­ral gas, crude oil and re­fined fu­els such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The en­ergy min­istry is be­ing asked to is­sue th­ese li­cences in the pub­lic in­ter­est to see whether there is a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn for the prov­ince. Com­pa­nies that do not com­ply with the terms of their li­cence could face fines of up to $10 mil­lion per day. In­di­vid­u­als could face fines of up to $1 mil­lion per day.

If nec­es­sary, this would al­low the prov­ince to “turn off the taps,” said Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley on Wed­nes­day. “Al­ber­tans have the right to choose how our en­ergy is shipped, so that Al­berta gets the best re­turn pos­si­ble,” she said. “Bill 12 gives us that power.”

With that author­ity, the prov­ince could place re­stric­tions on pipe­lines as well as trans­port via rail or truck.

“Make no mis­take,” Not­ley said dur­ing the bill’s third read­ing in the leg­is­la­ture. “We will not hes­i­tate to use that power.”

The move comes in the midst of an on­go­ing fight be­tween Al­berta and Bri­tish Columbia over the fate of the $7.4-bil­lion Kinder Mor­gan Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­ten­sion project.

On Wed­nes­day, fed­eral Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau, said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will fi­nan­cially back­stop Trans Moun­tain, and says if Kinder Mor­gan walks away, other po­ten­tial part­ners may step up.

Not­ley, who has also said her prov­ince would in­vest in the project to make sure it gets com­pleted, lauded Morneau’s an­nounce­ment.

“We’re en­gaged in the con­ver­sa­tions that are go­ing on be­tween Kinder Mor­gan and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, and when there’s more de­tail that is in ev­ery­one’s best in­ter­est to dis­close, then we’ll do that then.”

Not­ley re­fused to outline a time­line for when the leg­is­la­tion kicks in, say­ing it could take any­where be­tween 24 hours to a few weeks.

B.C. Premier John Hor­gan has said his gov­ern­ment is ex­plor­ing le­gal op­tions to stall the project over con­cerns he says it poses to the prov­ince’s coast­line.

With files from David P. Ball and The Cana­dian Press


Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley up­dates re­porters on the progress of the Kinder Mor­gan pipe­line in Ed­mon­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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