Alberta's energy patch scores one win and one loss in the Canadian Senate
Alberta’s oil producers scored one win and one loss in Ottawa this week, in their fight to access global markets.
BILL C-69 GETS AN EXTREME MAKEOVER
The changes include removing veto power from the federal environment minister, and putting more emphasis on economic impacts. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) applauded the changes, while opponents of the energy sector criticized the power being given to a group of unelected senators.
Bill C-69 would replace the National Energy Board (NEB) with a new Impact Assessment Agency, greatly expanding its scope with respect to social and environmental metrics.
The bill now sits with the Federal Liberals, who can either accept the changes as-is, reject the bill completely, or send it back to the Senate for rework.
BILL C-48 LIVES TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY
The Senate also rejected a recommendation to kill the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48).
The Senate Committee for Transportation and Communications argued the tanker ban was highly biased against Alberta, lacking any clear rationale, and was very divisive among West Coast Indigenous groups, who sit on both sides of the issue.
Bill C-48 bans crude oil tankers from stopping or unloading at any port located between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the Alaska border.
Both Premier Kenney and representatives of Canada's energy sector say they are disappointed with the decision, but remain hopeful for more debate during the bill’s third reading. Kenney has vowed to launch a constitutional challenge if the bill gets passed into law.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has reportedly already warned the Senate he won't accept any changes to the bill. The moratorium was a key election promise made by the Liberals during the last federal election campaign. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau informally committed to a tanker ban in the 1970s, but no legislation was ever enacted.
Crude exports by tanker account for just 8% of Canada's total crude exports, with 80% of those barrels coming from offshore production facilities located in the Atlantic. Most of those exports are destined for the US East Coast and Europe.