Rachel Notley slams Bill C-69 at International Pipeline Conference

Some have said the bill could devastate an energy industry already grappling with constrained pipeline capacity and depressed commodity prices.

Alberta environment and justice ministers will appear before the Senate to seek changes to legislation

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke Tuesday at the 2018 International Pipeline Conference in Calgary. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley cautioned the federal government to stay away from Alberta's energy sector as the Senate prepares to debate an overhaul of the country's environmental review process. 

She made the comments at the 2018 International Pipeline Conference in Calgary on Tuesday. 

"Let me be clear: Albertans manage energy," she said after her speech. "That is an Albertan birthright, and under no circumstances are we going to in this government see that right be undermined."

At issue is Bill C-69, which aims to change the way major resource projects are reviewed. 

Ministers headed to Ottawa

Some have said the bill could devastate an energy industry already grappling with constrained pipeline capacity and depressed commodity prices.

And Notley is concerned the federal government could be stepping on the province's toes. 

She said her energy minister and her minister of justice will appear before the Senate in an attempt to force a rewrite of the current bill, focusing on clarity around which projects would be included. 

 "I believe that their intent is a good one, and to be clear, I support their intent," said Notley. "But you need to really engage carefully to make sure you don't kill yourself with good intentions."

Downstream emissions

One thing she's adamant about it is that downstream emissions are excluded from consideration in environmental reviews. 

She said there should be consideration of Alberta's work through its climate leadership plan. 

When asked what she would do to prevent the bill as written from taking effect, Notley said they are having constructive conversations at this time. 

"I'm not quite yet ready to file the statement of claim," she said. 

"I think we're going to have a good public conversation about what this means and how it needs to be improved and that's where we're going to do that. I think we'll get to threats a little bit later down the road."

Pipeline association concerns

Chris Bloomer, the president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, said he's happy to see the premier taking a stand against the bill. 

"This is something that has been on our minds since our parliamentary testimony around the bill," he said. 

"We were pretty clear on that. Now other jurisdictions, other people are coming up with the same kind of conclusions that we had. I'm glad that she's articulating that."

Bloomer echoed the premier's concerns, saying the bill creates more engagement requirements but isn't clear on what projects will be involved and what the processes will be to evaluate those projects. 

"We said from the outset that this bill does not provide the clarity and certainty that the government was trying to achieve," he said.