British Columbia

B.C. not backing down on fight against pipeline expansion despite Alberta's threats

B.C. is not backing down in its latest attempt to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline — despite threats of court action from Alberta,

'We just agree to disagree with Alberta,' says B.C.'s environment minister

B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman is not backing down on planned restrictions for the transportation of bitumen from Alberta. (CBC)

B.C. is not backing down in its latest attempt to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline — despite threats of court action from Alberta.

On Tuesday, the B.C government proposed to restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments from Alberta to B.C. until it conducts more spill response studies.

Environment Minister George Heyman was clear Wednesday afternoon about the direction the province was taking.

"We just agree to disagree with Alberta," said Heyman. "We believe we have authority under the environmental management act to protect our coastline, to protect our environment."

Heyman's comments were in reaction to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's threat of retaliation made during an emergency cabinet meeting Wednesday called to discuss Alberta's options in the escalating battle over bitumen shipments.

"The B.C. government took this action with no provocation and almost no warning," Notley said. "The government of Alberta will not, we cannot, let this unconstitutional attack on jobs and working people stand."

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley threatened retaliation against B.C. over proposed bitumen restrictions during an emergency cabinet meeting in Edmonton Wednesday. (CBC)

During an interview with CBC Radio Edmonton earlier in the day, Notley said an attempt to block the pipeline is a direct attack on Alberta's economy, and the province will respond in a proportional way.

"We will, in fact, be taking them to court as quickly as possible if they don't back down," she said.

Heyman said the government plans to consult with First Nations, industry and local governments. Cabinet will then consider the recommendations.

B.C.'s move creates another regulatory roadblock for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion which would nearly triple capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.

The $7.4-billion project was approved by the federal government in 2016.

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