Alberta still needs more oil pipeline approvals: Notley
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, November 30, 2016 8:43PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 30, 2016 8:48PM EST
Ottawa’s decision to green-light two major pipeline projects to transport crude to foreign markets is being hailed as a decisive win for Alberta’s ailing oil industry, but Premier Rachel Notley says her province still needs more energy export infrastructure.
Notley said the move represents “a light at the end of the tunnel” following a two-year downturn in oil prices that cost thousands of jobs, as producers and refiners tightened their belts to control costs.
Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., and Enbridge’s $7.5-billion Line 3 pipeline replacement, from Alberta to Wisconsin, would increase the province’s pipeline capacity by more than 1.1 million barrels per day and create thousands of jobs and bolster Canada's role as a global energy player.
“It means we can get access to China and other Asia Pacific markets. It means we can get a much better price for our product. It means that we can be more economically independent from our neighbours to the south,” she told CTV’s Power Play on Wednesday.
Notley said that while the increased export capacity is a move in the right direction for oil producers in her province, she does not consider Canada’s energy export needs fulfilled by the decision.
“We would like to have even more diversity in our market opportunities,” she said. “I know New Brunswick would like to be able to invest in upgrading oil from Alberta. We would like to have people in Ontario buying oil from Alberta as opposed to offshore sources.”
Notley’s interest in moving Alberta crude to Canada’s east coast through projects like the proposed Energy East pipeline may be inspired in part by the Liberal government’s rejection of the Enbridge-backed Northern Gateway pipeline in Tuesday’s announcement.
That project would have carried oil from Bruderheim, Alta., to an export terminal in Kitimat, B.C. Blocking Northern Gateway makes good on a key government promise to ban tanker traffic in B.C.’s northern waters.
However, building on momentum from Tuesday’s approvals may be a pipedream for Notley and Alberta’s energy industry. Tuesday’s announcement has been met with fierce opposition from environmental groups, First Nations leaders, and politicians.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the approval “a terrible blow and a betrayal” on CTV’s Power Play, immediately following the decision on Tuesday.
“Of course I’ll go to jail. I’ll block pipelines. I’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with First Nations. This is not an issue you compromise on,” said May, a Vancouver Island MP and longstanding voice among Canadian environmentalists.
Hundreds of took to the streets of downtown Vancouver Tuesday night to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
“I feel so betrayed, because this prime minister and this government engendered such hope in us,” Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr told the crowd.
Notley credits her province’s plans to increase its carbon tax, cap oil sands emissions growth, and phase-out of coal-fired power by 2030 as a major driver behind Ottawa’s decision.
She believes these efforts are grounds to have the pipeline debate “delinked from conversation around greenhouse gas emissions.”
With files from CTV Vancouver