VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark says she’s off to Alberta to meet with Premier Alison Redford about British Columbia’s concerns related to the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
Clark said Friday she needs to tell Redford and Albertans that B.C. has environmental concerns about the plan to build a twin pipeline from Alberta to northwest B.C., from where the oil product would be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia.
Clark and Redford will meet on Monday. On Tuesday, Clark is scheduled to speak to public policy students at the University of Calgary.
Clark told cheering B.C. municipal politicians at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention that environmental issues must be resolved before the project can proceed.
Clark has also said she wants a bigger slice of the revenue pie from the pipeline to offset what she says is the increased environmental risk B.C. must bear, but Redford has said in the past she will not discuss that.
The B.C. premier told reporters Friday following her speech that revenues are an issue for the province, but not the top issue.
“In fact, the bigger issue for us is how do we protect our environment?” she said. “That’s what I’m going to talk to them about because, clearly, I don’t think they’re getting the full message about where we stand.”
Clark sent Redford a letter earlier this week outlining five requirements B.C. wants met before supporting the project. Three of them involve environmental protection.
The requirements include successful completion of the environmental review process, world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and world-leading practices for land oil-spill prevention, response and recovery systems.
B.C. also wants the proposed project to meet treaty rights and opportunities for First Nations and an assurance that the province receives a fair share of fiscal and economic benefits to reflect the risk it would face.