Trudeau where are you?
That’s what Shannon Stubbs, Conservative MP for Lakeland in Alberta is asking the prime minister on the national oil pipeline file.
Stubbs spoke with the Source Friday on the lack of commitment from the Liberal party to green light the construction of pipelines they have already approved.
She said delays in getting Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion under way to transport Alberta bitumen to Burnaby, British Columbia, for example, are hurting all Canadians in the pocketbook.
“The impact of the pipeline delay doesn’t only impact oil and gas producers and refiners and service companies to the oil and gas industry and heavy oil development around Lloydminster and the entire region, but in fact, impacts the entire country,” said Stubbs.
A report released by Scotiabank economists on Feb. 20 estimates stalled federally approved pipeline projects including TransCanada Corp.‘s Keystone XL and Enbridge Inc.‘s Line 3 replacement will cost the Canadian economy $15.6 billion this year.
The heavy oil discount of Western Canadian Select to West Texas Intermediate is about $24 a barrel that could be reduced, in lieu of new pipelines, by shipping more oil by rail.
All of the three major pipeline projects approved by the National Energy Board are mired in court challenges from Canadian and U.S. environmental groups or local communities and politicians.
“What the liberals have done repeatedly since the 2015 election is add more hurdles and more road blocks,” said Stubbs, referring to cumbersome regulatory processes.
In the case of TransCanada Corp’s Energy East, the government started and stopped the process multiple times.
“They added for the first time, downstream emissions assessments as a condition of pipeline approval,” said Stubbs.”
All these new measures forced TransCanada to abandon the project.”
The federal government’s new review process going forward will determine whether a pipeline will have an impact of climate change goals, for example.
“Now they’ve implemented a system which adds more uncertainly and wider scopes of assessments,” said Stubbs.
She said many of her constituents are very frustrated by the delays.
“I’ve heard from a number of constituents in Lloyd and around Lloyd about oil shipments that are now sitting—about storage capacity filling up (in Hardisty Alta.) because of a lack of pipeline capacity,” she said.
“It’s already been a number of years of challenges and hardships and layoffs and freezing projects in the energy industry.”
She said while prices are starting to rally a little bit, constituents are concerned about the constant delays on pipelines, on existing pipeline approvals and on new pipelines.
Stubbs says the message she tries to convey in the House of Commons is how important the energy industry is to the entire Canadian economy and the role Alberta has long played in terms of contributing revenue to multiple levels of government.
She said it raises the standard of living in every community in the country driven primarily by Alberta’s responsible oil development.
Stubbs added the federal Liberals don’t seem to understand how important energy is to the Canadian economy as the number-one private sector investor in the economy and as Canada’s second biggest export.
“We’ve been telling the prime minister he needs to champion the projects that he approved,” she said, with Trans Mountain top of mind.
“It’s a federal project in federal jurisdiction that received federal approval, so he can’t just be sitting idly by on his hands while the project they approved remains at risk.”
Alberta has suspended a ban on B.C. wine after the province backed down on restricting bitumen on the pipeline.
Stubbs however, said Trans Mountain is not out of the woods yet because the B.C. government is actually talking about a constitutional court challenge which signals further delays to the project.
“We should be clear about the the B.C. government,” said Stubbs.
“They said in their election campaign they would use all tools in the tool box necessary to stop the Trans Mountain expansion.”
Stubbs thinks the B.C. government is hoping that Kinder Morgan will do the same thing TransCanada did with Energy East and be forced to abandon the pipeline because of all the roadblocks and hurdles.
“They are trying to kill the pipeline—the PM needs to step up to the plate on it,’” she said.