Reaction from stakeholders across Canada has been swift following the joint announcement by Alberta Premier Alison Redford and B.C. Premier Christy Clark that their provinces had reached an agreement on how to move forward with pipeline proposals.
Critics of the move to transport Alberta oil and gas by pipeline to terminals on B.C.’s coast largely panned Tuesday's agreement, saying Clark has changed her position on pipelines several times.
“We’re hearing that there’s actually a framework that could allow these pipelines to go forward. I think the real flip-flopping is coming from Premier Clark of British Columbia,” said Ben West, environmental activist with Forest Ethics.
“You know the province made some very strongly worded statements during the joint review panel about the safety concerns associated with [Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proposal].… Now what we’re seeing is quite to the contrary.”
West’s sentiments were echoed by Greenpeace — a vocal opponent of proposed pipeline projects, which staged a daylong protest at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal in Burnaby, B.C. in October.
“This so-called deal will not break the unbroken and growing wall of opposition to tarsands pipelines and tankers in British Columbia,” said Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada.
“Today’s announcement doesn’t address the concerns of more than 130 First Nations, supported by communities along the route and people across the country, who oppose the movement of tarsands oil through their lands and waters,” said Hudema.
Industry officials, however, were largely positive about today’s developments, saying the deal is a sign of co-operation that might be a preview of things to come.
“We’ve always said that resolving the issues related to energy infrastructure is a collaborative effort that will require a number of different stakeholders and governments to achieve solutions,” said Todd Nogier, an Enbridge spokesman.
Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline has been at the centre of disagreements between the governments of B.C. and Alberta.
When asked about the Alberta-B.C. agreement during a press conference at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Tuesday, Greg Stringham of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers started by simply exclaiming, “Yay.”
Stringham went on to say, “We still know there’s a ton of work left to do to be able to do this. It was very good to see that they can actually come together and say we’re going to work to try to resolve these things.”
The agreement does not ensure any of the currently proposed pipeline projects will be approved, but sets the groundwork for all future negotiations between the provinces.