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Edmonton (Ab)/Ottawa, May 18 (Canadian-Media): Alberta has passed legislation empowering it to intervene in oil and gas exports that could result in price spikes in British Columbia (B.C.) in the dispute over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, media reports said.
"Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Wednesday prior to Bill 12 passing third and final reading.
"Albertans, British Columbians and all Canadians should understand that if the path forward for the pipeline through B.C. is not settled soon, I'm ready and prepared to turn off the taps."
Rachel Notley. Image credit: Twitter handle
The bill would empower Alberta to intervene in the energy market, and to decide how much fuel is sent and by what means.
Calling the Alberta law provocative, B.C. Premier John Horgan said, "Instead of asking how can we work together on this, they took aggressive action," he said in Chilliwack, B.C.
Horgan added that of course his government was still concerned about the effects of spills on the inland waterways and coastline,
The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to tankers on the B.C. coast.
Legislation designed to harm another province is violation of the constitution, B.C. Attorney General David Eby requested Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley to first confirm its legality.
"In the absence of such a commitment, I intend to instruct counsel to bring an action challenging its constitutional validity in the courts of Alberta," said Eby.
"Bill 12 is a step back towards trying to resolve differences through threats of economic harm."
Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause price spikes in gas at the pumps along with other related fuel fees.
Calling the legislation as justified, Notley said Alberta sells oil at a discount causing loss of billions of dollars because of tight pipeline capacity and added Alberta was acting in the public interest.
"With pipeline capacity stretched to the limit, Albertans have the right to choose how our energy is shipped," said Notley.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government in 2016 had approved the $7.4-billion project, but had been stuck since then due to permit delays and court challenges in B.C.
Trudeau's government had been given by Texas-based Kinder Morgan, the pipeline owner, until May 31 to figure out a suitable way to complete the project.
But if the project involves a large amount of public dollars, then the Alberta and federal governments would reportedly halt project.
Federal Finance Minister, Bill Morneau said earlier Wednesday, plenty of other investors may step up, if Kinder Morgan abandons the expansion.