Alberta lawmakers voted Monday to give the Canadian province discretionary powers to limit shipments of oil and gas to neighboring British Columbia in a row over a pipeline expansion.
The measure passed first reading in the legislature. Once enacted, it would require companies to obtain Alberta permits in order to export oil and gasoline to British Columbia — which already pays the highest fuel prices on the continent.
The two westernmost provinces have been at loggerheads for weeks over the proposed tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline’s capacity to move 890,000 barrels of oil per day from landlocked Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific coast, for shipping to new overseas markets.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interrupted a trip to Britain, France and Peru to try to mediate the spat that has already seen Alberta boycotting British Columbian wine.
Trudeau’s Liberal government approved in 2016 the Can$7.4 billion (US$5.9 billion) expansion project, which he said is “in the national interest.”
Kinder Morgan recently suspended most work on the pipeline amid the intense political uncertainty, saying it would drop the project if the parties fail to resolve their differences by May 31.