After officials worked through the night, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark today announced a framework agreement between the two provinces on moving forward with the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
Summary of agreement
- B.C. has agreed to sign Alberta’s Energy Strategy.
- Alberta has agreed to sign B.C.’s five conditions for pipeline approval.
- Alberta concedes that B.C. has the right to negotiate with the industry on economic benefits for the province.
- Both Alberta and B.C. agree that their provincial governments are not in the position to negotiate these economic benefits. Furthermore, Alberta’s royalties are not up for negotiation.
“Agreement on B.C.’s 5 conditions is a necessary first step before any proposals can be considered for approval,” said Premier Christy Clark. “It is the way we do business in B.C. and it works. By working together with Alberta through these principles we can grow our economies, and strengthen Canada’s economy overall.”
The framework will also see the Government of British Columbia endorse Premier Redford’s Canadian Energy Strategy.
“A key part of our Building Alberta Plan is getting Alberta’s resources to new markets at much fairer prices so we can keep funding the programs Albertans told us matter most to them,” said Premier Alison Redford. “Today’s agreement with B.C. is good news for Alberta, for British Columbia and for all Canadians. I welcome Premier Clark’s endorsement of the Canadian Energy Strategy and our shared commitment to create jobs, long-term growth and position Canada as a true global energy superpower. We look forward to continued constructive dialogue with B.C.”
The governments of B.C. and Alberta agree that British Columbia’s conditions are intended to ensure both the responsible production of energy as well as its safe transport to new markets, giving projects the social licence to proceed.
B.C.’s conditions 1-4 are designed to achieve both economic benefit and risk mitigation on increased shipments through B.C. They mirror Alberta’s legislated commitments on responsible energy production. Alberta and B.C. agree that only through intensive environmental review and protection, enhanced marine safeguards and First Nations support, can projects proceed.
On condition five, Alberta agrees that B.C. has a right to negotiate with industry on appropriate economic benefits. Both governments agree it is not for the governments of Alberta and B.C. to negotiate these benefits. Both provinces reaffirmed that Alberta’s royalties are not on the table for negotiation.
Today’s announcement in Vancouver comes after year-long “frosty” relations between the two Premiers after Clark announced her five conditions for the controversial $6.5-billion Embridge Northern Gateway oil sands bitumen pipeline to Kitimat. Another $5.4-billion proposal by Kinder Morgran intends to expand crude pipeline capacity to Burnaby. Both projects will open Alberta’s natural resource industries to Asian markets.
Of particular tension was B.C.’s condition of receiving its “fair share” of economic benefits from Alberta, including some of the province’s royalties from its oil sands industry.
Source: BC Premier’s Office | Image: Jonathan Nafzger / Shutterstock