Experts question Alberta power threats to BC as pipeline politics intensify

PCA voices strong opposition to B.C. Trans Mountain decision

Experts question Alberta power threats to BC as pipeline politics intensify

British Columbia's premier says his government is trying to protect the province, not be provocative, over a proposed ban on an increase of diluted bitumen shipped from the west coast.

Ottawa has already approved the expansion and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised again on Friday that Trans Mountain will go ahead, saying it's an important part of Canada's energy plans. "We will stand by our decision".

The leader of Alberta's Opposition, Jason Kenney, made some suggestions on Wednesday about what he would do to penalize B.C., but Notley says his ideas would hurt Albertans.

She says it will end up costing the B.C.an estimated $500M. In the meantime, she hopes the federal government will intervene.

Notley promised to suspend electricity talks with the province in its first step to fight against the B.C. government's proposal.

Trudeau said the pipeline is a key component of the federal government's approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which means Ottawa had to get a national agreement on carbon pricing that will allow Canada to meet its global commitments on climate change.

Trudeau didn't take any questions from the media following a tour of a seniors centre and a flood mitigation project in south Edmonton.

"It's important to get our oil resources to markets other than the United States for the Alberta economy, for the Canadian economy to continue to grow and we need to do that safely", the Prime Minister said on an Edmonton radio station. "He's very clearly committed".

The range and severity of options being proposed in retaliation to B.C.'s latest move should be a wake-up call for Trudeau.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi also waded into the fight on Thursday, saying B.C. pulled a risky stunt with the proposal.

Notley gave few details on what the suspended energy talks were about, but Blake Shaffer at the C.D. Howe Institute said there have been talks for some time to use the full 1,200 megawatt capacity of the existing power lines running between the two provinces, rather than the 800 megawatts now allowed.

"I will also remind them that when you fill up your gas in the Lower Mainland, where do you think that gas came from? It came through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline".

"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". In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley declared February 1 that her government would put a hold on electricity trade talks with British Columbia.

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