Notley warns senators Bill C-69 could harm energy sector

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley appeared before a Senate committee considering Bill C-69 to argue that the legislation could deter investment in Canada’s oil sector.  CPAC image.

Bill C-69 revamps Canadian environmental approval process

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke to Canadian senators on Thursday to warn them that the proposed Bill C-69 could have negative impacts on the struggling Canadian energy industry.

The controversial bill is aimed at overhauling Canada’s environmental approval process, but critics of Bill C-69 say it will discourage investment in the oil sector.

Speaking to the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Premier Notley said “We agree that the process for approving infrastructure projects needs to change.”  She added “But we cannot swap one broken system with another broken system.”

Alberta is desperate to get new pipelines built to ease the oversupply of Canadian crude and boost commodity prices.  Recent pipeline and rail bottlenecks have stranded Alberta oil and deflated crude values significantly.

Pipeline projects like the Trans Mountain Expansion have been delayed for years by regulatory hurdles.

While addressing the Senate, Notley suggested some amendments to the bill, including the exclusion of inter-provincial pipelines as well as more clarity on what factors will be considered when assessing a new project.

The Alberta premier also asked for time limits for project assessments and for socio-economic impacts of a project to also be considered by the federal government during its evaluation process.

Last year, the Trudeau government presented Bill C-69.  Supporters of the legislation say it will improve the consultation process with indigenous people and ultimately reduce the regulatory hurdles that have set back oil pipeline construction as well as other major projects.

But critics say the bill will give the government too much power and allow ministers to veto projects before the review process begins.  They say this will create uncertainty for investors.

Bill C-69 is currently under consideration by the Senate committee.  The committee can suggest amendments based on expert testimony and affected individuals.  The bill still needs to pass through additional steps before it becomes law.






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