BC's attorney general calls Alberta fuel restriction bill a 'bluff'

Support growing for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia
BC's attorney general calls Alberta fuel restriction bill a 'bluff'

19 April, 2018

The comments come as the British Columbia (B.C.) government pledged to file a legal challenge by month-end to determine whether it has the jurisdiction to stop the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016 and would almost triple capacity on the pipeline from Alberta to a Vancouver-area port.

All these measures could amount to driving up prices at the pump in B.C. If that happens, B.C. Attorney General David Eby has said he is prepared to take Alberta to court over the legislation.

"I think you can expect if the Trans Mountain pipeline does not go ahead (Kinder Morgan) will be bidders for various assets here in Canada, and probably fairly quickly as well", he said.

"This process is about B.C.'s right under the Constitution to regulate against the deleterious impacts on the environment, on the economy, on the provincial interests - whether it's an inter-provincial project or a provincial project", Eby told reporters at the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan's threat to pull the plug on Trans Mountain if jurisdictional squabbles aren't resolved by the end of May has sent both the Alberta and federal governments scurrying to their bank accounts and promising tax dollars to keep the project on track. "The division that is being caused by Alberta holding its breath until it turns blue to get what it wants isn't going to do anything". "It means good jobs in BC, thousands of them as the pipeline is built".

Pat Venditti, head of Greenpeace UK said it was, "very hypocritical of the prime minister to be here in London talking about climate change while building a climate-wrecking pipeline that can only lead to more fossil fuels being burned".

On April 8, the company said it would stop allocating shareholder resources to the project and suspend "non-essential activities and related spending" as it seeks "clarity on the path forward".

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Horgan said that B.C. will "abide" by the court's decision.

Trudeau said his government would consider tabling new legislation to reaffirm that the federal government has jurisdiction over these types of projects.

Refiners would be forced to find alternative markets, accept lower prices, or run operations at less than optimum capacity to restrict output, he said.

Alberta feels it is being held as an economic hostage by B.C.'s attempts to block the pipeline expansion. Eby said that it would be illegal and unconstitutional.

Trudeau declined to discuss the specifics of Ottawa's proposed financial buy-in, saying only that the feds "have engaged in financial discussions with the Kinder Morgan".

Kurl adds that political attempts to strong-arm BC - such as Alberta cutting back oil exports to the province or Ottawa withholding infrastructure dollars - appear to be less effective in getting those now opposed to the project to say "yes".

The company set a deadline of May 31 to decide whether to go through with the pipeline expansion.

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