Rachel Notley will sell merits of Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C.

Alberta Premier says she’ll go to B.C. as early as next week

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speak during a meeting on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speak during a meeting on Parliament Hill on Nov. 29, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she will head to British Columbia as early as next week to make the case for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“It’s really important for me to be able to go out there and say to those people who link the pipeline to the issue of climate change and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that, in fact, our climate change leadership plan has very effectively delinked those issues,” Notley told reporters Wednesday in a conference call from Ottawa.

The new pipeline is safer than moving oil by rail, she said.

“It increases the return for Albertans — and frankly all Canadians — but it doesn’t increase the volume (of greenhouse gas emissions),” she said.

Notley’s government has passed, or is in the process of passing, sweeping changes to environmental, electricity, and tax rules to reduce Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions and move toward renewable energy sources.

A bill now before the legislature will cap total oilsands emissions at 100 megatonnes a year. The current emissions are about two-thirds of that.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced federal approval of Trans Mountain on Tuesday and said it would not have been possible without Alberta’s plan.

Trans Mountain still has to clear regulatory hurdles and faces stiff opposition in B.C. from environmentalists, First Nations and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

In B.C. Wednesday, Premier Christy Clark said the feds are close to meeting her government’s five conditions for its approval of the pipeline, but wants more assurances on spill response, jobs and economic benefits for B.C.

The Trans Mountain pipeline will increase the number of tankers leaving Vancouver-area waters seven-fold.

The pipeline is expected to be a key issue in May’s B.C. election, potentially putting Notley at odds with her NDP colleagues as they challenge Clark’s Liberal government.

Notley said she is ready for the debate.

“This is not a new thing for B.C., quite frankly,” said Notley.

“The NDP in B.C. had to manage very profound divisions within its own party over (logging in) Clayoquot Sound and forestry,” she said.

“They’re tough conversations, but … the values that drive me as a New Democrat are both the need to make real progress on protecting our environment but to do so in a respectful way to the working people.”

It was at times a rocky path for Notley and Trudeau, who were both in Ottawa for Tuesday’s announcement.

Last month, Notley announced she would not go along with Trudeau’s plan for a escalating floor price on carbon that would reach $50 a tonne by 2022.

Alberta’s plan tops out at $30 a tonne, and Notley said then she didn’t know how her province would meet $50 a tonne without action on pipelines.

She said she is now onside with the $50 price, but said it is still linked to progress on projects like Trans Mountain. The $6.8-billion project would triple the capacity of an existing line to take crude from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.

Alberta is in the midst of a prolonged slump in oil prices that have led to thousands of job losses and a budget deficit this year pegged at $10.8 billion.

Notley says a pipeline to tidewater is critical to reach Asian markets and fetch a better price for oil instead of being tied solely to the U.S.


Rachel Notley will sell merits of Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C.

  1. The toxic, tar sands should not be permitted pass the AB/BC border into BC, because there is no equipment to clean-up spill. A tar sands spill from Kinder Morgan’s pipeline down into the Fraser River will kill BC’s sport and commercial salmon industries.

  2. One of the benefits is that residents of Burnaby will be receiving at least 3 times as much free bitumen and toluene than they have in the past few years: this pipeline and tanker transfer operation is well known for its frequent spills. The impact on the port of Vancouver is a lot greater than the increased number of shipping assignments as the oil tankers passing through Berard Inlet will be assigned 3 times the normal number of tugs, more senior pilots and will take priority over other shipping and tugs will have to stand-by at the location of off-shore transfers from small tankers capable of traversing Burard Inslet to full size tankers; even at increased traffic, this will still represent less than 5% of freight value but will consume more than 15% of port resources. “The new pipeline is safer than moving oil by rail” – that old saw again: the safest option is refining the material in Calgary rather than shipping carcinogenic diluent back and forth across the country while exporting jobs and GDP: the point of the pipeline is to increase the revenues of foreign refiners creating jobs and GDP in foreign lands; Notley is so in the pockets of big oil that’s she’s willing to forgo >$100M per day GDP.
    Why should those of us not living in Alberta or BC care? The main goal of exporting as much raw Alberta resource as possible is to constrain Canadian supply with the hope of returning us to 1.60+ $/liter at the pump and increasing transportation fuel costs by >60%. Another reason is various tax allowances and subsidies such that every barrel shipped is wrapped in taxpayer dollars; the choice is between spending on the welfare of Canadians or the welfare of foreign oil.

  3. As some would say…. “some people can sell ice to Eskimos”…. selling someone on an idea is simply convincing them they need something (which they very well may not). Nor do promises of economic prosperity actually bring prosperity. That’s a sales pitch.

    However, given these pipelines and increased fossil fuel consumption, perhaps the Eskimos may need ice after all.

    For anyone believing this exporting of Alberta bitumen will be used for Canadian consumption and it will decrease our prices…. I’ll bet you $10 that the vast majority of this is going oversees.

    Doesn’t appear to me that it will be refined here and it certainly won’t be shipped back. That would make absolutely no economic sense. If it were to stay, it would be refined somewhere in Canada and not pumped to port.