EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she’s pulling the province out of the federal climate change plan.
The move comes after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would have doubled the line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast and tripled the amount of oil shipped to fetch a better price on overseas markets.
The panel of three judges cited a lack of consultation with Indigenous groups and a failure to address the impact of increased tanker traffic on the endangered southern resident killer whale population off the coast of B.C.
“This ruling is bad for working families and it is bad for the security of our country, the economic security of our country,” Notley told a news conference Thursday.
“It is a crisis.”
Notley called on the federal government to immediately appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada. She said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must also call an emergency session of Parliament to fix the process so that the pipeline can be built.
Until that happens, Notley said the province will remain outside the federal climate plan.
“Let’s be clear, without Alberta, that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on,” she said.
The federal government has said it is reviewing the court decision and plans on pushing forward with the project.
Alberta’s Opposition Leader Jason Kenney said the federal judges who overturned approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are out of touch with the real world.
He said Notley has not helped matters by prematurely celebrating the construction of the pipeline while imposing a carbon tax in the mistaken belief it would provide so-called “social licence” that would persuade environmental opponents to stand down.
The Trans Mountain line has dominated Alberta politics in the last year and it, along with everything it represents, including Alberta’s carbon tax, is expected to overshadow all other issues in a spring election.
Notley has said Alberta’s commitment to environmental stewardship, expressed through its carbon tax and commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity along with other green initiatives, allowed Trudeau’s government to follow through on its commitment to get the pipeline built.
To that end, the federal government bought the project for $4.5 billion when owner Kinder Morgan Canada wavered this spring.
The pipeline is also a financial lifeline for Notley’s government, which has been running multibillion-dollar deficits while avoiding introducing a sales tax or making significant cuts to the budget.
The province has budgeted for increased pipeline access to drive non-renewable resource revenue to more than double to $10.4 billion by 2024 to balance the budget.
(THE CANADIAN PRESS)