​B.C. to face consequences over plan to ban increased oil shipments: Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley holds an emergency cabinet meeting on Jan. 31, 2018. Image: Premier of Alberta/Flickr

EDMONTON — Alberta 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 Wednesday to discuss what range of legal and economic levers Alberta can pull in its spat with its neighbour to the west.

“The government of Alberta will not — we cannot — let this unconstitutional attack on jobs and working people stand,” she said before the closed-door meeting.

“I’ve called you all together today at this emergency meeting to discuss and evaluate the range of economic and legal options that are available to us including, for example, interprovincial trade in electricity.”

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.

But Notley said the pipeline has already been approved by the federal government.

“Just because the B.C. government, in coalition with the Green Party, doesn't like the decision gives them absolutely no right to ignore the law or…change the rules at half-time based on a whim,” she said.

“Our economies, the economies of the two provinces are closely linked. Billions of dollars of goods cross our borders every year. Hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on good trading relationships.

“But I believe…that we owe it to Albertans to do everything within our power to defend our jobs and our economic security and we will not waiver in this fight.”

B.C.'s proposal creates more uncertainty for Kinder Morgan's already-delayed Trans Mountain expansion project that would nearly triple the capacity of its pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in a statement late Tuesday that Ottawa stands by both its decision to approve the Trans Mountain expansion and its commitment to protect the environment and the B.C. coast.

“The decision we took on the Trans Mountain Expansion remains in the national interest,” he said. “And it was a decision based on facts and evidence — this has not changed.”

Saskatchewan's incoming premier Scott Moe also expressed support for the project, criticizing the move by B.C.

“The B.C. NDP are playing politics at the risk of thousands of Canadian jobs, future infrastructure projects as well as investor confidence in our energy industry,” he said in a statement. “We will support the government of Alberta in any actions against this political decision.”

© 2018 The Canadian Press