Premier Notley warns B.C. over plan to ban increased oil shipments

By The Canadian Press
February 1, 2018 - 5:45am

EDMONTON -  Premier Rachel Notley says there will be consequences for British Columbia over the province's latest attempt to hinder expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Notley held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss what range of legal and economic levers Alberta can pull in its spat with its neighbour to the west.

She cited interprovincial trade in electricity as one of the possible lines of pursuit.

B.C.'s environment minister said Tuesday that the province plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off its coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill.

The B.C. government says it will establish an independent scientific advisory panel to study the issue and make recommendations to the minister on whether, and how, heavy oils can be safely transported and cleaned up if spilled.

B.C. will also seek input from First Nations, industry, local governments, and environmental groups, as well as the general public over the coming months.

The restriction creates more uncertainty for the already delayed Trans Mountain expansion project, which would nearly triple the capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.

The West Coast Environmental Law association cheered the proposal as a welcome safety measure and an important warning for Kinder Morgan.

Notley calls the move unconstitutional and says B.C. is trying to change the rules after the pipeline has already been approved.  She says it would be illegal and would endanger jobs and the economy.

She accuses the B-C government of playing political games that endanger economic prosperity.

Kinder Morgan, the company behind the Trans Mountain expansion project, says its plan to ship more diluted bitumen to B-C has already been approved by the federal government and thoroughly studied.

(The Canadian Press)

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