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Alberta Suspending Talks About Purchasing Electricity from British Columbia Over Proposed Bitumen Restrictions

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Alberta Suspending Talks About Purchasing Electricity from British Columbia Over Proposed Bitumen Restrictions

The Government of Alberta is starting its repercussions against British Columbia for their proposed move to limit the shipment of diluted bitumen from oilsands.

Premier Rachel Notley spoke to reporters on Thursday explaining Alberta is suspending talks about purchasing B.C. electricity. She says this decision could lead to B.C. losing around $500 million each year.

Notley notes this is just the first step the government plans to take.

“We are prepared to do what it takes to get this pipeline built, whatever it takes.”

On Tuesday, the B.C. government announced additional measures to protect the province’s environment from spills which included restrictions on the increase of diluted bitumen transportation until “the behavior of spilled bitumen can be better understood.”

The provincial government held an emergency cabinet meeting the following day where the Premier mentioned they discussed legal action and possible consequences which included suspended inter-provincial trade in electricity.

“They are well in their rights to look at regulations around preventing spills, cleaning up spills, coming up with best practices to do the best job around that issue, they are not entitled to make regulations about what is in the pipeline.”

Suspending talks over electricity was chosen because it would have little impact on the everyday Albertans.

“With natural gas prices being where they are, the natural gas supply being what they are, we are quite able to manage our electricity needs at this time.”

Meanwhile, the Premier also spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

The two discussed the matter over the phone for roughly 30 minutes with Notley stating she was assured by Trudeau that the federal government wants to see Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion ‘be built.’

Despite getting backing from the Prime Minister, Notley explained she wants to see more done.

“We need them to insert very clearly that there is one government in the country that gets to make a decision about what goes into pipelines that cross borders. That government is the federal government, the B.C. government has no ability to make regulations or anything else about what goes in those pipelines.”

She notes she’s hoping to see the Prime Minister make a public statement siding with Alberta and the pipeline.

The Alberta government is also contemplating whether or not more repercussions are needed. They’re currently looking at possible legal actions with a decision expected rather soon.

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