AB Premier sees new optimism for pipelines
- 29 Sep 2016
- Calgary Herald
- JAMES WOOD
Premier sees new optimism for pipelines
Alberta ‘encouraged’ by Ottawa’s approval of LNG project in B.C.
This idea of finding the right balance between economic development and environmental integrity is something … you do see reflected already quite clearly.
Premier Rachel Notley says the federal government’s approval of the massive Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia is a hopeful sign as Alberta pushes for new pipelines.
On Tuesday, the Trudeau government gave the go-ahead to the Petronas-backed liquefied natural gas project — subject to 190 conditions, including for the first time a maximum cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
Notley applauded the Liberal government’s approach, comparing it to her NDP government’s connected efforts around its climate change strategy and push to gain market access through new pipelines.
“We’re encouraged that the federal government appears to be rolling up its sleeves to try to sort of navigate a path toward . . . an important combination of sustainable economic growth while ensuring that you address environmental issues,” she said at an event in Edmonton marking the expansion of a bio-industrial company’s facility.
“We’ll continue to focus on what we know is fundamental to the Alberta economy, which is getting a new pipeline to tidewater within the parameters we have already put in place.”
Alberta’s climate plan includes a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands and an economywide carbon tax that comes into effect Jan. 1.
The Liberal cabinet is expected to make a decision on Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of its Trans Mountain oilsands pipeline to the B.C. coast by the end of the year. Another proposal, the Energy East line to the Atlantic Ocean, is in the early stage of the hearing process. Both the Petronas project and new pipelines face significant opposition from environmentalists and First Nations over greenhouse gas emissions and their potential impact on land and water.
Notley said the comparison between the LNG plant and pipelines aren’t exact but there is a parallel.
“This idea of finding the right balance between economic development and environmental integrity is something that … you do see reflected already quite clearly in the much more open conversations that have been happening around pipelines,” she said. “There is some similarity.” However, Liberal cabinet ministers are refusing to link the LNG approval to the government’s handling of pipelines.
“We look at each project as it comes and balance out the economy and environmental factors,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, Calgary’s representative at the cabinet table.
While there is still uncertainty over whether the $36-billion Petronas project will actually get built, Notley said she’s hopeful there will be opportunities for Alberta companies in the construction process if it goes ahead.