Canada could exempt some oil sands projects from federal energy bill

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Canada could exempt some oil sands projects from federal energy bill

The day after being sworn in as Alberta's premier, Jason Kenney has picked fights on two different fronts by threatening a constitutional challenge against Ottawa over Bill C-69 and declaring a new law that gives the power to cut off oil shipments to British Columbia.

"We don't have enough pipeline capacity to ship both refined gas and unrefined bitumen to the Lower Mainland", Kenney said.

The ceremony at Government House in Edmonton marks the formal end of the four-year NDP government under former premier Rachel Notley.

Kenney wants all the amendments proposed by the former NDP government in Alberta accepted, including a hard two-year time limit for the whole process, less room for interference by federal ministers, and an exemption for in-situ oil sands projects in Alberta that are now reviewed by the Alberta Energy Regulator. "But I've been clear it's not our intention to reduce shipments or turn off the tap, we simply want to demonstrate our government is serious about protecting the vital interest of Alberta".

"If needs be, we will do what is necessary to preserve the value of our resources and to stand up for our workers", Kenney said.

"You only proclaim legislation like this when you plan to use it", said Bilous.

When Alberta passed the law a year ago, B.C. challenged it in court.

One real problem for Alberta is that a government can not pass a law that regulates exports in a way that discriminates against another province or region, he said.

He said killing the cap is not part of his formal policy platform.

Kenney had threatened a constitutional challenge to the bill during Alberta's provincial election campaign. But removing the emissions cap would prove problematic.

But he said the fix is simple: Greenlight the Trans Mountain expansion. Federal Energy Minister Amarjeet Sohi says cancelling it would open the door to more federal regulation in the oilsands. Critics predict it will create new uncertainty, deterring investment in the oil sector.

The new premier is also the minister of intergovernmental relations and appointed 19 others to cabinet, including seven women.

"This is a young, diverse, energetic cabinet", he said.

On Wednesday, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna added steam-driven oilsands facilities to the list of projects that are subject to federal environmental reviews, but said it will exempt those same projects on the condition that Alberta keeps certain environmental policies in place. We have farmers, tradesmen, oil and gas experts, small business owners, academics, a musician, public servants and teachers. He was a chartered accountant and rancher before getting into politics.

Veteran legislature members Ric McIver and Jason Nixon have also been given cabinet posts - McIver in transportation and Nixon in the key environment and parks portfolio. He will be appearing at 8:30 a.m. EST with Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

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