Canada’s Senate passed on Thursday two controversial bills restricting the movement of oil tankers off the northern coast of British Columbia and overhauling the assessment process for oil pipelines—bills which have pitted environmentalists and liberals against the oil industry and the neighboring oil-producing province of Alberta.
In a very close 49-46 vote, the Senate passed the so-called Bill C-48 which “prohibits oil tankers that are carrying more than 12?500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo from stopping, or unloading crude oil or persistent oil, at ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border.”
Last month, Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Transportation voted to defeat the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act that opponents of the bill view as damaging to Canada’s oil industry.
Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenny said that he was “Very disappointed that Bill C-48, the ban on Alberta energy exports, just narrowly passed in the Senate by a vote of 49-46.”
“Thanks to Senators who voted against this prejudicial attack on one province, Alberta. We will challenge this bill in Court,” Kenney tweeted.
In another oil-related vote, Canada’s Senate also passed, by a 57-37 vote, a bill to change the federal environmental assessment process for major construction projects, including oil pipelines. Alberta and the Canadian oil industry are strongly opposed to the legislation, the so-called Bill C-69, saying that it would prevent major projects from obtaining the necessary approvals within reasonable deadlines.
“Now the Senate has given final approval to Bill C-69 by a vote of 57 to 37, stripped of the amendments put forward by the Government of Alberta and business groups. This means the No More Pipelines Law will become law. A bad day for our economy, and the Canadian federation,” Alberta’s Kenny said.
The Senate approval of the two bills, to which Canada’s oil sector and oil-producing province Alberta strongly object, came during the same week in which Canada’s federal government gave the go-ahead to the controversial Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project that it bought from Kinder Morgan last year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com