Notley pulling Alberta out of federal climate plan after latest Trans Mountain pipeline setback

Hours after a stunning Federal Court of Appeal decision in which Ottawa’s approval of the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was overturned, Premier Rachel Notley addressed Albertans about the latest hurdle to come before the project and dropped a political bombshell of her own.

“Signing on to the federal climate plan can’t happen without the Trans Mountain pipeline,” she told reporters at a new conference Thursday evening. “Today I’m announcing that with the Trans Mountain halted and the work on it halted, until the federal government gets its act together, Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan and let’s be clear, without Alberta, that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Notley said Alberta signing onto the plan was always contingent on the Trans Mountain pipeline project going forward.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain pipeline court decision ‘a real sad day for Alberta,’ says energy expert

“Albertans are angry. I’m angry,” she said. “Albertans have done everything right and we have been let down.”

On Thursday morning, a panel of three judges said the National Energy Board’s review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal was so flawed that the federal government could not use it as a basis for its decision to approve the project.

READ MORE: Federal court quashes Trans Mountain expansion; Ottawa forging ahead with purchase

The court also ruled the federal government did not sufficiently engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before approving the project.

Notley said she spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day where she laid out two specific demands: the federal government should file an appeal through the Supreme Court of Canada as soon as possible and Trudeau should call an emergency session of Parliament to “assert its authority” and to fix the NEB consultation process, which was criticized in Thursday’s court ruling.

“Successive federal governments created the mess we find ourselves in… now Ottawa needs to fix it,” Notley said.

“When Alberta’s economy is held hostage, Canada is not working, so the time for Canadian niceties is over.”

At one point in the news conference, Notley said the current political and legal atmosphere in Canada renders it “practically impossible” to build a pipeline to tidewater.

Notley said Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring the project goes ahead but did not provide a concrete answer on how or if he would follow through on her demands.

In 2015, Alberta’s economy was rattled by a sudden collapse in global oil prices.

Since winning the Alberta election later that year, Notley and her NDP government have made getting more oilsands bitumen to tidewater a priority while also working to diversify the province’s economy and to develop a plan to address the threat posed by climate change.

Notley said she has no plans to drop her government’s climate action plan, including the carbon tax, and indicated her record on the climate change file is something she’s proud of.

“[Before the NDP was elected] we had no climate change plan in Alberta,” she said. “We had no plan to diversify our energy sources — we had none of that.”

Notley said she believes the federal government has a duty to amend its consultation process with Indigenous people on pipeline matters and that she believes a new and amended consultation process could potentially be completed by early 2019.

READ MORE: Kinder Morgan moving to suspend construction on Trans Mountain pipeline project following ruling

“It is a crisis,” she said of the situation. “Our ability to transport our most valuable commodity is subject to the whims of the White House and the U.S. government. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a threat to Canadian sovereignty and Canadian economic security.”

READ MORE: Trans Mountain pipeline decision: Experts discuss what could happen next

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