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Premier Rachel Notley pulled Alberta out of the national climate agreement Thursday until the federal government gets the Trans Mountain pipeine expansion back on track.
"Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan," Notley told reporters following a nationally-televised address after the pipeline project construction was halted by a court ruling. "Without Alberta the climate plan isn't worth the paper it's printed on."
She said Alberta was going to keep the current price of carbon at $30 per tonne, rather than increasing it to $40 in 2021 as planned under the federal climate agreement.
Earlier, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan's project, after concluding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet made its decision without considering all evidence and failing in its legal duty to consult First Nations.
Notley called the decision a "crisis" and urged Trudeau to recall Parliament to an emergency session to "fix the mistakes" of the pipeline review process and get construction of the Trans Mountain project going by January 2019. She also demanded the federal government immediately launch an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan and I've called on the federal government to:— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) August 31, 2018
➡take this to the Supreme Court;
➡call an emergency session of Parliament to fix the NEB;
➡fix this mess; and
➡get construction re-started.#ableg #abpoli pic.twitter.com/3p8kjill9C
She said if Parliament asserts its authority to fix the National Energy Board process, to make clear that marine matters will be dealt with in a different forum and gets consultations going. Construction could resume early in the new year, she said, "if the federal government acts boldly and gives this project the attention it deserves."
She said that pulling out of the climate accord sends a strong message to the federal government as Alberta was a good ally. Alberta had always made participation in the climate agreement contingent on the pipeline project, she said. In 2016, Canada reached an agreement with all provinces except Saskatchewan to implement a national climate plan. Alberta agreed to implement carbon pricing starting at $20 per tonne in 2017, despite criticism from oil industry proponents.
"This ruling is bad for working families...Albertans are angry. I am angry," Notley said. "Albertans did everything right, and we were let down...The current state of affairs in Canada right now means that building a pipeline to the tidewater is almost impossible."
"This ruling is bad for working families...Albertans are angry. I am angry," @RachelNotley said, announcing her decision to pull Alberta out of the federal #climate plan. #TransMountain #KinderMorgan
Notley said Alberta's oil was landlocked, and that the U.S. would continue to be its sole market if an oil pipeline expansion to tidewater was not built.
"This is a threat to Canadian sovereignty," she said, noting that British Columbia should also be concerned about its liquefied natural gas exports.
Notley said she spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and was told Ottawa is still backing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and still intends to have it built.
Today I spoke with Premier @RachelNotley - and reassured her that the federal government stands by the TMX expansion project and will ensure it moves forward in the right way.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 30, 2018
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau also stated in a news conference assurances that the federal government will have the pipeline built. On the same day as the Federal Court ruling, Kinder Morgan's shareholders voted to sell the company’s Trans Mountain expansion to federal taxpayers for $4.5 billion. Morneau said the sale could close as early as tomorrow, leaving Canadian taxpayers owning a project that had its construction permits revoked by the courts.
If built, the Trans Mountain expansion would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline system, allowing it to ship up to 890,000 barrels of bitumen and other petroleum products from Alberta to a Burnaby terminal in metro Vancouver. The federal and Alberta governments, along with oil companies, say it would generate growth by giving oilsands producers access to new markets on the Pacific Ocean. Dozens of affected Indigenous communities, environmentalists and some municipalities along the route have argued that the project is too risky and would push Canada’s climate change goals out of reach.
In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told National Observer that the Trans Mountain pipeline was approved in exchange for getting Alberta to support its national climate plan, including the implementation of a carbon tax. Notley said Alberta didn't have a climate plan prior to this agreement, and that it would need to pull out of the plan until the current crisis over Trans Mountain was resolved.