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Fort St. John
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Tel: 250-787-7100
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Alberta premier is disappointed with Ottawa’s response to oil bottleneck

EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she’s disappointed with Ottawa’s lukewarm response to the province’s plan to ease oil bottlenecks by buying more rail cars.

She says it’s simplistic to dismiss buying rail cars by saying they probably wouldn’t arrive until a pipeline expansion was already under construction.

Alberta oil is currently selling at a discount of about $45 a barrel because of an oil glut due to a lack of pipeline capacity.

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Notley has proposed Ottawa invest in moving oil to market on rail cars in the meantime and as a hedge against future shipping problems.

Notley says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spent the day in Calgary on Thursday, left Alberta with a better idea of how crucial the issue is than when he arrived.

She’s also thanking people who she says helped her make her point when they shut down part of a downtown Calgary street for a rally during Trudeau’s visit.

Alberta could go ahead with the rail car purchase with or without the federal government, she said Friday after an announcement in Edmonton.

“The government of Alberta will do what it needs to do, whether we do it by ourselves or with support from Ottawa,” she said. “It might be reasonable for them to come to the table.”

Notley is planning a trip to Ottawa and Toronto next week for meetings and speeches to try to keep the oil bottleneck on the federal government’s front-burner.

She has said the price gap between Canadian and U.S. crude is costing the country’s economy $80 million a day.

Trudeau said in Calgary that the federal government is doing what it can to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built, which would triple the line’s capacity to carry oil to tankers on the west coast.

The federal government bought Trans Mountain and its expansion project for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down its approval. The court cited inadequate Indigenous consultation and failure to consider impacts on the marine environment.

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