There has been some talk lately of Alberta shutting off the oil supply to BC over the delays to the Trans Mountain pipeline project. The BC government responded by suggesting that they would rather import oil from Washington state than allow the project to continue.
They might have overlooked the fact that oil produced in Washington is made from imported crude oil. Over a quarter of these imports come from Alberta by pipeline, and over half comes from Alaska mostly by tanker. If BC were to rely solely on southern neighbour Washington for its oil, it would mostly be coming from its northern neighbour Alaska.
Environmentally speaking, it does not make much of a difference. It might even be a net harm to the environment from added inefficiencies.
The benefit that the rest of Canada would see from the Trans Mountain pipeline is that Alberta would have more export options which would increase demand and allow Alberta to demand a higher price for the same amount of oil. Instead, blocking the pipeline forces Alberta to produce more oil to make the same revenue as would otherwise be the case.
The downside from BC’s perspective, therefore, must go beyond the environmental risks and impacts.
Perhaps BC does not want Alberta to be able to increase its export options because it would increase its own residents’ already incredible gas prices. If that is the case, it means that they are willing to waste billions of our dollars to save millions of their own.
Given the massive financial and environmental costs they are willing to shrug off, it is only getting clearer how disingenuous the federal and BC governments are becoming with their motives surrounding this project.
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