Published: Sat, May 04, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Canada could exempt some oil sands projects from federal energy bill

Canada could exempt some oil sands projects from federal energy bill

"The federal government has zero constitutional authority to Bigfoot in here and pretend that they can regulate in situ oilsands development", Kenney said Wednesday, following the federal government's announcement.

Kenney, a former conservative federal cabinet minister, won the election with a landslide victory against Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party after promising to reverse years of economic stagnation and decline.

"This bill does not need a nip-and-tuck; it needs complete reconstructive surgery or to be put out of its misery", Kenney told senators of the committee on the final day it is holding hearings on its study of the bill.

The cap on oilsands emissions, however, is not a pressing concern.

Horgan said he spoke with Kenney by phone after the law was proclaimed. The EPAC president, who represents oil and gas companies, is in Ottawa this week to press for changes to Bill C-69.

The federal government will by June 18 make a decision on whether pushing forward with the expansion is in the public interest.

"Unfortunately, since coming into office in July 2017, the B.C. government has opposed the expansion project every step of the way, most recently in the B.C. Court of Appeal".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and new Alberta Premier Jason Kenney put on polite faces for the cameras at the start of their first official meeting in Ottawa Thursday, but the cordial handshake and civil tone of their opening remarks belied the tension that exists between them.

In it, the new premier says Bill 12, the legislation to cut off oil to B.C., has been proclaimed by cabinet.

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"We will look at other ways of responding before we get to this strongest tool in our toolbox", Kenney said.

Kenney said the Trudeau government's overhaul of environmental assessments for major construction projects, known as Bill C-69, "will in the submission of the Alberta government be a disaster for the Canadian economy and will seriously rupture national unity".

Kenney said the UCP needs the power to protect "Alberta's ability to get a return on their resources", and that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the interest of all Canadians.

Still, analysts don't believe that proclaiming Alberta's law is a wasted effort.

"I can't rationalize the outrageous spike in prices here relative to other jurisdictions beyond ... a lack of supply", Horgan said.

The average price for gasoline in Vancouver was $1.69 per litre on Wednesday, according to Gas Buddy.

Bill C-48 would prohibit large oil tankers from docking along B.C.'s North Coast. He said while the government is open to amendments, it is not open to wiping out the bill's attempt to address the environmental and Indigenous consultation requirements that have led to most of the court challenges.

Private companies and refineries in Edmonton control what is shipped on the line through contracts with Trans Mountain Corp.

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