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Bernier grills Horgan over Alberta’s objection to North Montney Mainline

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier had some tough questions for Premier John Horgan during question period on Wednesday about the Alberta government’s opposition to TransCanada’s proposed North Montney Mainline pipeline in the B.C. Peace Region.

The Canadian Press is reporting that on February 8th, the Alberta Department of Energy filed with the National Energy Board to oppose the proposed natural gas pipeline, which would connect parts of the Montney Basin north of Fort St. John with the NOVA Gas Transmission network in Alberta. During NEB hearings in Calgary last month, producers voiced their opposition to the project, saying it will flood the Alberta market with natural gas, lowering prices.

Alberta denied that its opposition to the North Montney Mainline was because of the recent dispute between B.C. and Alberta over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, saying as much in a statement.

“Our filing has nothing to do with the recent dispute with the government of B.C. The filing is consistent with Alberta’s past positions relating to fair and just toll principles as well as consistent, well-established and accepted pipeline tolling principles.”

However, Bernier pointed out that Alberta had not come out to oppose the project until the 8th, nine days after Environment Minister George Heyman announced that B.C. would consider banning increased diluted bitumen shipments pending a review of the ability for the substance to be cleaned up.

“Alberta was fine with this project up until last week. They had many opportunities to stand up and oppose this project, yet they chose not to,” said Bernier in the Legislature. “It’s probably because they were looking out for the interests of all of Canada as well and making sure they weren’t opposing what was good — jobs, opportunities for B.C. and for Alberta.

February 8th, last week — this is no coincidence. The Alberta government has stepped up. This is going to hurt the Peace region. It’s going to hurt the people of British Columbia, and it sends, again, the wrong message for why people should even want to move here or invest in our province.”

In response to Bernier’s question of whether he would put an end to the ongoing pipeline dispute between the two provinces, Horgan explained that it is not unusual for provinces to intervene at the NEB, adding that both B.C. and Alberta had done so in the past.

“I will say, however, that it is absolutely appropriate for the government of Alberta to ensure that the costs incurred in having pipes go through their territory are borne by the people who will benefit from that,” said Horgan.

The Premier added that the government is arguing that the feds disregarded the consequences of moving increased amounts of diluted bitumen though B.C.

“If the members on the other side don’t want to talk to British Columbians, they’d rather listen to interventions at the National Energy Board… I wish they’d shown up when the National Energy Board was looking at Kinder Morgan. Then we might have had a better outcome,” Horgan added.

Below is video posted by MLA Mike Bernier of the exchange.

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