Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (Black Press files)

Alberta premier ramps up oil pipeline battle with B.C.

No more electricity discussions with B.C., Rachel Notley says

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s escalating protests against B.C.’s plan to introduce new regulations on heavy oil transport to the Pacific coast are premature, B.C. Premier John Horgan says.

Notley’s latest threat is to refuse B.C. electricity sales in response to the Horgan governement’s continued opposition to the federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Speaking after a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Notley said she is suspending talks on electricity sharing, a move that could cost B.C. $500 million a year in sales from its hydro grid.

Notley said that amount does not include possible purchases from the Site C dam, and she will have more to say about that later.

“This is just the beginning,” Notley told reporters in Edmonton.

Horgan said Thursday the latest announcement by B.C. to consult on new oil regulations is within B.C.’s jurisdiction.

“I spoke with Ms. Notley yesterday, and we have consulted with the Alberta government as well as the federal government on our intentions,” Horgan said at a school construction announcement in the Okanagan. “We have an intentions paper we’re putting forward asking the public to give us feedback on how we can best protect what’s important, and I don’t see what the problem is.”

RELATED: Trudeau says ‘that pipeline is going to get built’

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With industrial power demand down and Site C, a third dam under construction on the Peace River, the B.C. government is hoping to sell hydroelectric power to Alberta to help it shift from coal to renewables.

Former B.C. energy minister Bill Bennett pitched the idea to federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr in 2016, seeking federal infrastructure funds to help build a second electricity grid connection between the two provinces.

That would cost $1 billion, but would provide backup power for solar and wind projects that Alberta Notley has indicated she would like to build there.

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