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British Columbia Backs Down On Trans Mountain

British Columbia has made a small concession to Alberta by admitting that it may not have legal grounds to impose a planned temporary ban on additional oil shipments to Canada’s west coast. The B.C. government said in a statement it had sought legal advice on whether it had jurisdiction to impose the ban.

Last month, B.C.’s environmental ministry proposed new rules for oil spill preparedness and response. As part of these rules’ journey from proposal to regulation, the ministry divulged plans to set up a panel that would look into whether a diluted bitumen spill in the water can be cleaned up.

While the panel works, the ministry has proposed a ban on any increase in heavy crude shipments. From Kinder Morgan’s and the Alberta oil industry’s perspective, it is easy to see this move as a stalling tactic: environmental minister George Heyman has said there was no timeline for the panel, adding that if the work is to be done thoroughly, it could take a couple of years.

Alberta struck back by banning imports of British Columbia wines and asked for help from the federal government, which approved Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion plan last November. Earlier this month, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in the House of Commons that Ottawa won’t let B.C. “stall or stop” the project. The statement was in response to a motion from the opposition Conservatives, who said PM Trudeau and his government had been sitting idly by while B.C. did its best to block the expansion.

Carr defended the government, saying they had thrown their support behind Trans Mountain in no uncertain terms, but he also defended B.C., saying the provincial government was not in fact trying to delay the project but wanted to consult its citizens on the potential risks linked to the pipeline expansion.

He added, "What we have clearly said is that the federal government holds authority over the [Trans Mountain] pipeline and we will clearly not entertain non-jurisdictional delays intended to stall or stop the project. That is simply not an option."

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Ness on February 25 2018 said:
    Believe me the Russians and Saudis want the NDP and Green Party to remain in power in B.C. You can keep the cheapest oil and natural gas in the world land locked. Why not keep funding the greenies. They probably have no idea where the money is coming from but will take it
    Mean while Canadian oil CEOs keep increasing production of oil and natural gas non stop. I guess hope is a business strategy ? Too many old white accountants and engineers running the show. That said their greatest source of cash flow printing shares has completely dried up
  • Strat on February 24 2018 said:
    The federal government, and Justin Trudeau in particular, better soon support Alberta and the oil industry, or it will be out of a job. The most recent poll numbers for Trudeau show a 37% approval rating, which is even below Trump in the US (https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3naje/justin-trudeaus-government-is-just-as-unpopular-as-harpers-was-in-2014). To allow a small minority of environmental zealots to destroy Canada's economy is the epitome of irresponsibility.
  • NickSJ on February 23 2018 said:
    Carr defended the government, saying..."the federal government holds authority over the [Trans Mountain] pipeline and we will clearly not entertain non-jurisdictional delays intended to stall or stop the project. That is simply not an option."

    It may not be an option, but it is the reality. Such is the difference between political statements and the truth.
  • Joe on February 23 2018 said:
    Very good article by Irina Slav. The main issue of the pipeline is that the diluted bitumen will be shipped from the port of Vancouver and will increase the tanker traffic from about 1 per week to about one every day. Meanwhile there is tanker traffic that goes right by the provincial capital city of Victoria every day as tankers from Valdez, Alaska deliver oil to Washington State as they have done so since the 70's. By the way, the City of Victoria pours it's raw sewage directly into the ocean, something the State of Washington is quite upset about.

    Certainly it would be bad news if diluted bitumen would be spilled in a tanker accident, but the fears are being hyped up the environmental zealots. Nearly 30 years ago there was an oil spill at Prince William sound in Alaska. It was bad. However, the tankers are now double hulled plus GPS exists where as it did not exist back then. There is very little chance of any spill. In fact the odds of getting killed in a car crash are much higher, yet people of BC continue to drive cars. The Green Party has control of the minority British Columbia government and this is why Premier Horgan has to toe the environmental line. One slip up and another election will be called, sending Horgan back to the unemployment line.

    Oil tankers call on the States of Washington, Alaska, California, Texas, Louisiana, New York, the Hudson River, the St. Lawrence River, and the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, yet the people of BC think their coast is too special for that. It is the coast of Canada and not just the coast of BC. Meanwhile, the Vancouver area continues to get over 80% of their gasoline and a high proportion of their jet fuel from the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline. Also it has operated since the 50's without any significant environmental problems. Hopefully sanity will prevail

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