PSAC and CAODC back Alberta’s move to cut off energy exports to British Columbia

Two energy industry associations are supporting Alberta’s introduction of legislation on Monday that would make it possible to cut off oil and refined products going to British Columbia as retaliation for that province’s efforts to kill off the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

The Alberta NDP government, led by Premier Rachel Notley, introduced the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act in response to the continued and substantial delays in building the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX).

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The TMX project received federal approval 18 months ago after an extensive initial review process and an additional consultation period imposed by the federal government in 2016.

On the same day, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said similar legislation would be coming soon from his government.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) and Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) both put out statements on April 16 in support of the Alberta government’s moves in this regard.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada said in a release it recognizes Notley and the Government of Alberta for standing up for Alberta’s energy industry to ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion gets built.

PSAC said this is a crisis facing not only Alberta, but the whole country – a crisis that is about more than just a single pipeline project, rather it is a crisis in confidence that investors cannot rely on the rule of law in Canada for investment of their capital.

“Future capital investment in this country is at stake with such uncertainty,” said Scott Van Vliet, PSAC chair, and founder and CEO of Environmental Refuelling Systems Inc.

The organisation said that already capital investment has been flowing south to the U.S. and to other international markets – and that means lost jobs for Albertans and Canadians, lost revenue for innovation and technology development, lost tax revenues for social programs, health care and education.

PSAC appreciates that Premier Notley is taking steps to ensure the pipeline proceeds – touring the country to promote the benefits to all Canadians and insisting that Prime Minister Trudeau step up.

“We also understand the frustration for the impasse we have reached in moving this project forward and therefore, the introduction of Bill 12 by the Alberta government earlier today,” the release said.

“However, it is our hope that today’s legislation will not be necessary. We trust that cooler heads will prevail as a trade war has the unintended consequences of hurting businesses and families irrespective of provincial borders,” added Tom Whalen, president of PSAC.

PSAC hopes that British Columbians, the majority of whom support this pipeline expansion, will make their voices heard to Premier John Horgan, sending a clear message to stop the blockade of this project.

The CAODC noted the act gives Alberta’s minister of Energy the authority to, if necessary, require any company exporting energy products such as gasoline, jet fuel, crude oil and natural gas from Alberta to require a license. In so doing, the minister may also subject licenses to restrictions on quantities, timeframes, and/or transportation methods.

“We are not pleased the situation has come to this,” explained CAODC President Mark Scholz. “However, after a substantial initial review, an additional review and consultation process implemented by the Liberal government in 2016, and final approval 18 months ago, enough is enough.”

The CAODC pointed out that in addition to the rigourous and extended application and review process, the prime minister launched a $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan in November of 2016 to help assure British Columbians that the preservation of their pristine coastline is a priority for all Canadians, including those in the oil and gas industry.

Moreover, Kinder Morgan has reported the TMX project has the support of 51 First Nations communities in both B.C. and Alberta as well as thousands of regular British Columbians, and the existing pipeline has an exceptional safety record, including no significant ocean spills of any kind.

“After thoroughly assessing all of the risks, the federal government has deemed this project safe and approved it in the national interest of Canada,” stated Scholz. “To continue stalling a project subject to this type of scrutiny in the name of ‘defending British Columbia’s coast’ is disingenuous. We support Premier Notley taking measures to hold the British Columbia government accountable for its delay tactics.”

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