Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is talking to media about a Senate committee recommendation against an oil tanker ban on Canada’s West Coast.
The ban, in the form of Bill C-48, would prohibit tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of oil from docking along an area that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border.
Passage of the bill in the House of Commons was applauded by environmentalists concerned about the coastal ecosystem in the wake of an oil spill.
The vote by the Senate’s transportation and communications committee does not kill the bill but gives the Senate the option of not proceeding or bringing the bill back.
If the bill is brought back, at least one senator, Alberta’s Paula Simons, says she’ll introduce amendments. Simons cast the deciding vote in the committee on Wednesday night.
The Senate will likely discuss whether or not to accept the committee’s report sometime in the next few weeks.
Kenney’s early praise
Kenney has already praised the committee on social media for its recommendation.
“This is a victory for common sense and economic growth,” he tweeted, shortly after the decision Wednesday evening. “Thank you to Senators for listening to Albertans and respecting fairness in our federation.”
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association applauded the committee as well.
“Bill C-48 would unfairly discriminate against oil pipelines by banning the shipment of crude oil to or from ports located on the northern British Columbia coast, restricting market access for one of Canada’s highest value resources,” it said in a news release.
“This decision sends a clear message that proceeding with Bill C-48 is not in Canada’s best interest.”
Kenney will also talk about Bill C-69, designed to clarify and speed up approval of major projects in Canada but which has come under fire from Alberta’s oilpatch.