Calgary

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says no unnecessary federal delays for oil pipelines

Premier Rachel Notley says there can't be any unnecessary federal delays when it comes to approving a new pipeline — any pipeline — to transport Alberta's oil to international markets.

'A decision has to be made'

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley waves to the crowd from atop a horse during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday. She is urging the federal government to do its part to get the Northern Gateway pipeline approved. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Premier Rachel Notley says there can't be any unnecessary federal delays when it comes to approving a new pipeline — any pipeline — to transport Alberta's oil to international markets.

The future of the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal is now in the hands of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government after the Federal Court of Appeal on June 30 quashed a permit issued for the project.

"We're just going to continue to work hard to make the case for why all of Canada needs this pipeline or a pipeline to get to tidewater and then a decision has to be made," Notley said Friday.

"We just can't dither on this for a lot longer."

The previous Conservative cabinet approved the $7.9 billion project in 2014. The appeal court said the Tories failed to meaningfully consult with affected First Nations.

Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan's bid to triple the capacity of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., is before the federal government after the National Energy Board sanctioned the $6.8-billion project in May.

"Frankly, if I was in the federal government, I would not shut down any of my options until I knew I had one option that's successful. But that's me," she said.

"I think that Kinder Morgan tends to be the most obvious choice, but even that is not without its challenges."

Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline would ship bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., and bitumen-thinning diluent in the opposite direction.

Eight First Nations, four environmental groups and a labour union launched legal challenges against the approval, which were consolidated and heard by the appeal court in October.

The Douglas Channel, the proposed shipping route for oil tanker ships in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, just south of Kitmat, B.C., is pictured on January 2012. The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned Ottawa's approval of the Northern Gateway project, concluding that Canada fell short in its duty to consult with aboriginals. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Notley said she understands the need for First Nations to have a say in the Northern Gateway process.

She said Alberta is examining the court decision and will ask the federal government to take whatever action is necessary to meet those standards.

"But in a respectful way that engages meaningfully with affected stakeholders and in particular First Nations people because they have a strong set of rights under our laws."

Notley said she hopes to meet with Trudeau when he visits the Calgary Stampede next week.

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