Next Alberta action on Trans Mountain could be in coming days

first_imgWe could find out this week what the Alberta government’s next move is in the ongoing battle against British Columbia regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline.Environment Minister Shannon Phillips was asked Monday about Premier Rachel Notley’s timetable.“Certainly cabinet is examining a range of options, and the Government of Alberta will have more to say about that in the coming days,” she said.Last week, Notley announced her government would be suspending all electricity talks with B.C. after that province’s government said it would temporarily restrict increases in diluted bitumen shipments, putting Trans Mountain into jeopardy.While the wait is on for that next action, Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said there has to be some middle ground with her provincial counterparts.“Whether they say it publicly or just meet with us and tell us what they’re thinking,” she said. “They probably do have something in mind — they’re just not saying it.”She said Alberta is trying to present a winning argument for both sides.“We’re not going to quit on this; it’s too important,” she said.Several experts have already questioned the impact of the electricity threat.“You’re not talking about much in the grand scheme of things; it’s not much of a weapon,” energy consultant David Gray told the Canadian Press.Blake Shaffer with the C.D. Howe Institute also told the CP that for B.C. to lose potentially up to $500 million a year on the sale of extra power, that would mean high assumptions.“That would assume that that space were used to the fullest amount every single hour of the year, at a very high price,” Shaffer explained. “They do have another opportunity in California, so I don’t know there’s going to be a true limiting of market access if that’s the intention.”Shaffer said it could backfire with higher rates, due to less competition to seel their power.But the Alberta NDP has often said they’re looking at multiple options, and Phillips reiterated Notley’s previous comments that the federal government has to do more, despite already coming out in defense of the project.“To be very specific that this proposal by the province of British Columbia, is in fact, outside their jurisdiction,” she said.PHILLIPS ON FORMER OIL SANDS ADVISORPhillps also responded to comments made by one of the former co-chairs of the province’s Oil Sands Advisory Group.When asked about Tzeporah Berman – long criticized by the opposition for being on the panel in the first place – saying the conflict is messy but necessary, Phillips was terse.“I’m not really all that concerned about anything that Tzeporah Berman says,” she said. “Tzeporah was a very integral part of the new concensus that came up around oil sands companies finding ways out of the dead end that previous governments had driven us into.“Having said that, I think she’s wrong on this issue.”last_img