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Wine For Oil: Alberta’s Revenge

Wine bottle

An ongoing trade battle between British Columbia and Alberta over a crude oil pipeline expansion project grew in scope on Monday, after an announcement that BC planned to challenge the rival province’s ban of its wine, according to a new report by Reuters.

The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) does not allow such bans between provinces, BC argues. Alberta authorized a halt in BC wine imports earlier in February after BC proposed new rules to block shipments of oil, potentially jeopardizing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Alberta is an oil-rich province that needs new pipelines to transport its fossil fuels to its refinery customers, but BC argues that it proposed the ban on shipping tankers to protect its environment from the dangers of spills.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is against the politicization of the conflict between the governments of Alberta and British Columbia concerning the latter’s unwillingness to accept the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion projects, the group said earlier this month.

Responding to comments made by the leader of the Alberta United Conservative Party, Jason Kenney, CAPP’s head, Tim McMillan, said "We want to see the politicization mellowed on all sides. Any time that trade issues get ramped up and there's a politicization of them, people get injured, businesses get injured. Our hope is that the elected leaders can find a path through this.”

Last week, Canada’s National Energy Board gave Kinder Morgan the go-ahead to start construction work on a tunnel entrance in British Columbia’s Burnaby Mountain that will be part of the controversial pipeline expansion. Though this is a rare piece of good news for Kinder Morgan in the Trans Mountain saga, it does not mean that the pipeline construction will soon begin. The NEB has yet to approve about half of the pipeline’s route, and there are also other permits to collect and lawsuits to see the end of.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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