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B.C. Threatens To Sue If Alberta Turns Oil Tap Off

Pipeline pieces

British Columbia is planning to take Alberta to court over legislation that will give Alberta the powers to turn the oil taps to B.C. off, B.C.’s PM and Attorney General said yesterday.

For British Columbia, the current situation with crude oil is, apparently, in the Goldilocks zone: the province is getting just enough crude from its oil-rich neighbor Alberta. Any more, with the expansion of the Trans Mountain and B.C. starts worrying about its environment. Any less, under a fresh Albertan bill, and it starts worrying about prices at the pump.

Yesterday, Alberta’s government approved Bill 12, which will give it the powers to reduce the flow of crude to British Columbia in retaliation for B.C.’s relentless efforts to put an permanent end to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Following the official announcement, B.C. Premier John Horgan threatened to take Alberta to court to prevent it from enacting the legislation.

“Albertans, British Columbians and all Canadians should understand that if the path forward for the pipeline through B.C. is not settled soon, I’m ready and prepared to turn off the taps,” Alberta PM Rachel Notley said as she announced the passing of Bill 12, adding “It could happen in 24 hours, it could happen over a much longer period of time.”

To this, B.C.’s Horgan responded with “If the Alberta government chooses to proclaim their legislation, we will move quickly to strike it down.” AG David Eby, for his part, wrote to the Albertan government, calling on it to take the matter to court in a reference question together with B.C.’s proposed regulation proposal that fueled the anger of Alberta.

Related: IEA: High Oil Prices “Taking A Toll” On Demand

The odds seem to be stacking against B.C. at the moment, as Ottawa has also increased its pressure on the province to accept the inevitable, that is, a federally approved infrastructure project. The latest from Ottawa was the Finance Minister’s statement that the government is ready to compensate Kinder Morgan for the B.C.-caused delays in the project with public funds, once again highlighting the weight that Ottawa is putting on the Trans Mountain expansion.

Horgan slammed the minister’s statement as “rhetoric and hyperbole”, saying “I’m not causing any risks. I’m issuing permits as they’re asked for by the proponents.”

Kinder Morgan has given Canada until May 31 to find a way to guarantee that the Trans Mountain expansion could move forward without any more delays.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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