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Alberta government prepared to cover up to $2B in Trans Mountain pipeline costs

By Jillian Morgan   

Financing Infrastructure

ALBERTA—Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Tuesday that the province would contribute up to $2 billion to cover “unforeseen” costs associated with the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Notley would not provide details on which circumstances would warrant the payout, but said that information will be released soon – emphasizing that it’s possible the province would not spend “a cent” of the backstop.

Alberta agreed to provide support to the federal government in its $4.5 billion acquisition of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project under three conditions: resumption of construction, timely completion of the project and value for Albertans in exchange for support provided by the province.

If the backstop is required, Alberta will receive equity in the project commensurate with its contribution and would share eligible costs with the federal government.


Notley said the contribution would be payable only “once oil starts flowing,” and that construction work is expected to begin within a few weeks time, despite continued opposition from the B.C government.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement that the province would continue with its reference case to regulate oil flow through the province.

“It does not matter who owns the pipeline,” Horgan said. “What matters is defending our coast — and our lands, rivers and streams — from the impact of a dilbit spill.”

Still, Notley remained confident that the case, filed in April, would have less relevance now that the pipeline is a federal project with crown immunity.

Notley said Alberta does not plan to exercise Bill 12 – its “turn off the taps” legislation, which would prevent shipment of oil products to B.C. – in the near future but would consider using it if necessary, and doesn’t expect crown immunity to block that action.

“The crisis has passed, at least for now,” Notley said.


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