Alberta passes bill that could cut oil to B.C

Another blow in the Trans Mountain pipeline fight as Alberta passes bill that could cut oil to B.C

Alberta has passed landmark legislation giving it sweeping power to intervene in oil and gas exports that could result in punitive price spikes in British Columbia in the dispute over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Premier Rachel Notley won’t say when and how the power will be used, but said she won’t wait long.

“Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia,” Notley said Wednesday prior to Bill 12 passing third and final reading.

“Albertans, British Columbians and all Canadians should understand that if the path forward for the pipeline through B.C. is not settled soon, I’m ready and prepared to turn off the taps.”

RELATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

The bill would give Alberta the power to intervene in the energy market, to decide how much fuel is sent and by what means, be it by rail or pipeline.

B.C. Premier John Horgan called the Alberta law provocative.

“Instead of asking how can we work together on this, they took aggressive action,” he said in Chilliwack, B.C.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, in a letter, said legislation designed to inflict harm on another province violates the constitution.

RELATED: Indigenous leaders pitch sustainability to Kinder Morgan shareholders

He urged Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley to first run the bill past the courts to confirm its legality.

“In the absence of such a commitment, I intend to instruct counsel to bring an action challenging its constitutional validity in the courts of Alberta,” said Eby.

“Bill 12 is a step back towards trying to resolve differences through threats of economic harm.”

Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause price spikes in gas at the pumps along with other related fuel fees.

But Notley said it’s justified legislation, given that Alberta is losing billions of dollars due to transportation bottlenecks and the fact that B.C. is frustrating the federally approved Trans Mountain project.

“With pipeline capacity stretched to the limit, Albertans have the right to choose how our energy is shipped,” said Notley.

“Alberta has the right to act in the public interest.”

The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to tankers on the B.C. coast.

Notley said Alberta oil sells at a discount because of tight pipeline capacity and because most of it goes to the United States. A better price could be fetched on overseas markets.

The $7.4-billion project was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2016, but since then has been hamstrung by permit delays and court challenges in B.C.

Horgan has said his government remains concerned about the effects of spills on the inland waterways and coastline.

The pipeline owner, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, has scaled back spending on the line and has given Trudeau’s government until May 31 to show that there is a way to complete it.

The Alberta and federal governments have committed to backstopping the project with public dollars if that’s what it takes to make sure it’s completed.

Earlier Wednesday, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said those talks continue. He said if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon the expansion, there are plenty of other investors willing to step up.

Notley’s bill echoes similar legislation passed in Alberta a generation ago in the early 1980s in a dispute with Ottawa over oil ownership and pricing.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 120th Annual Victoria Day Parade

Check out the photo gallery, watch our live feed of the festivities

Esquimalt Farmers Market kicks off summer season

Recently named Best Mid-sized Farmers Market in B.C., weekly event returns to Memorial Park

Preserving Victoria’s character buildings costly, but worth it

Pemberton and Son recognized for heritage preservation of Promis Block

Reporter gets serious with Tour de Victoria’s 140km ride

Travis Paterson’s training blog for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria on Aug. 18, Volume 1

‘ALR golf courses should return to farming,’ says ex-ALC chair Frank Leonard

Former mayor says Saanich could appeal Cedar Hill Golf Course application

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

Most Read