Credits: IAN KUCERAK/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
BC Premier Christy Clark received a chilly reception from her Alberta counterpart Monday as their spat over the Northern Gateway pipleline came face-to-face in Calgary.
But Clark said she downplayed her demands for revenue sharing from the planned Enbridge pipeline, insisting she emphasized a trio of environmental conditions to be met before the route can bring Alberta oilsands bitumen to the West Coast for tanker loading.
She downplayed her fifth condition, she said, which is a share of fiscal benefits from the pipeline.
"There's a reason it's the fifth condition because it's actually the least important of them," Clark said after the 25-minute meeting at the downtown McDougall Centre.
"The other four are actually more important but I can't say a whole lot of progress was made ... I think it was frosty."
The 1,200-km pipeline is in the midst of extensive public hearings and has been a lightning rod for environmental and BC First Nations opposition.
Clark said a claim by Enbridge that the project would have an $8.6 billion impact over 30 years in B.C. was dubious, but even if true wouldn't be enough to justify the ecological risk.
"You can't put a price on the environment ... when you go to BC you'll find the environment is incredibly important," she said, adding others will have to advocate for Northern Gateway. "I'm not going to be championing (the pipeline)."
Minutes later, Premier Alison Redford said she was disappointed Clark departed from a letter the B.C. premier sent last week that appeared to soften her stance on the royalties issue.
"I was hoping we would see today some of that movement, but unfortunately premier Clark is sticking very closely to those five conditions," Redford said.
Redford said she sought details on the revenue issue from Clark "but she had no response -- I gave her an opportunity more than once that royalties aren't on the table and she didn't take it."
"Royalties are a non-starter," Alberta's premier said.
In contrast, Redford said Alberta was more than receptive in dealing with BC's environmental demands and that First Nations be fairly consulted.
And she said she'd be willing to meet with Clark on the issue again.
Clark warned her province will soon become pre-occupied with its own petroleum development -- namely cleaner natural gas deposits that will require five pipelines to connect the West Coast to production in the province's northeast.
"We have some pretty big fish to fry in BC ... I've never seen a duck washed up on a shore covered with natural gas," she said.