Pipeline fuels war of words between Alberta, B.C.
Published Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:22PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:31PM EDT
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has thrown down the gauntlet on Alberta's plan to run an oil pipeline across the province to the Pacific coast, and she's making a stand on the issue at a Halifax premiers' meeting today.
On Monday, Clark and her environment minister issued a list of five key requirements that Enbridge's Northern Gateway project would have to meet in order to be considered -- primarily that B.C. must see significant benefits from the project.
On Tuesday, she told CTV News Channel the project simply won't go ahead unless Alberta and Enbridge co-operate.
"British Columbia is taking the vast bulk of the risk for transporting the heavy oil from Alberta. British Columbia is getting very little benefit in terms of jobs and economic growth, we have to rebalance that," Clark said from Halifax.
She said the proponents of the project must convince the province that the environment will be protected, aboriginal groups will be consulted, and that the benefits will be directly felt by the province as a whole.
"We have to find ways to protect our environment and we have to make sure we are delivering economic benefit for British Columbia if this is to go ahead, and we have to have a conversation about that," Clark said.
Clark said she met with Alberta Premier Alison Redford last week in Edmonton to apprise Redford of her concerns.
On Tuesday, Redford told reporters at a pancake breakfast that she was disappointed by Clark's take on the project.
She accused her of trying to change the rules set out by confederation by demanding more compensation for the pipeline project.
Redford said provinces have always maintained the rights over their resources, and Alberta will not share its royalties with B.C.
The B.C. Premier said she understands the need for the pipeline, which would make Alberta oil accessible to Asian markets, but said the current framework isn't acceptable.
"We're not saying this can never go ahead but we are saying there are some basic bottom lines in terms of protecting our environment, in terms of sharing the benefits with British Columbia," Clark told CTV News Channel.
Clark said the only way the project can proceed is if all involved parties sit down and renegotiate the terms of the benefit sharing.
“If they’re not willing to sit down and have a negotiation, the project stops here,” she said.
“I’m saying there is a path ahead here. There is a path for success for this project,” she added.
According to research commissioned by the B.C. government, the province would only get $6.7 billion of the Northern Gateway’s projected $81 billion tax revenue over a 30-year period, starting in 2016.
Alberta is expected to get $32 billion and Ottawa $36 billion.
In terms of employment benefits, the pipeline project would mainly generate short-term construction jobs in B.C., the researchers found.
Environmentalists and some First Nations groups have protested against the proposed pipeline, saying oil leaks on B.C. land and along the coast would be devastating.
Environmental assessment hearings for the project are currently underway.
With files from The Canadian Press
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