VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The high cost of gas has some British Columbians wondering about federal support for new refineries on the west coast.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he isn’t ready to throw federal money behind increased production capacity, but is open to the idea of private companies taking the lead.
With soaring fuel costs and an ongoing debate over the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline, it’s no surprise many people in B.C. are wondering if adding new local fuel sources might be a good idea.
However, some say it’s impossible, and that there’s no political will for such a thing. Perhaps that’s why Trudeau skirted around a question about federal support while speaking in Victoria on Thursday.
“As for future energy investments and refinery investments, we’re always open to seeing what the private sector proposes, what business cases are out there” he said. “We believe in getting things done the right way and we’re going to work with people to find solutions to ensure people can afford their weekly bills.”
Some, who want to see the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion go through, say they don’t see need for more refineries; they want Canadian crude to reach more international markets.
That is the direction Trudeau leaned when asked on Thursday night about refineries.
“Having 99 per cent of our oil go to the United States doesn’t do anything for the environment when we’re selling it at a discount,” he told the crowd, adding that revenue collected after the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline would be used to invest in green energy initiatives.
The BC Utilities Commission is currently hearing testimony from oil companies and experts on the impacts of refining capacity and supply issues on the price of gasoline and diesel.
Earlier this week, a consultant told the panel that fuel from Edmonton and Washington state is cheaper at the pumps than the fuel that’s increasingly being sourced from the U.S. Gulf Coast, citing transportation costs as the main factor.
Trudeau said in Victoria that he understands British Columbians are struggling to get by.
“And we’re going to work with people to find solutions to make sure that people can afford their weekly bills.”
-With files from the Canadian Press