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Quebec energy transition: a bill riddled with pitfalls

(Quebec) A bill creating a new organization, energy transition Quebec, will be tabled this week in the National Assembly by the Energy Minister Pierre Arcand. The new body will be mandated to coordinate all government programs necessary to achieve the emissions targets set by Quebec.
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The new body will be financed by a share expected energy distributors – Hydro-Quebec, the gas and oil primarily – as foreseen in the 2030 Energy Policy in spring filed by Mr. Arcand.

But the course chosen by the government Couillard seems already bumpy. Hydro-Quebec is expected to authorize financing costs links with public transport networks, including the future light rail provided by the Caisse. Hydro is anticipated will reflect this contribution in fixing its rates.

However, The Quebec Times has learned, in the discussions, the Department of Justice warned that he could not predict the outcome of a lawsuit if someone challenged that provision.

The court could see a hidden tax, and the court could conclude that the intention of the government is, in effect, to levy additional income.

Another problem: the bill wants to give the government the right to demand the maximization of economic benefits at the time of the award or renewal of an authorization to produce or store hydrocarbons. The Ministry of Justice points out that this provision may be denounced as contrary to Quebec’s trade commitments on the international stage.

We also want to provide that in case of an accident, a company that operates or storing hydrocarbons can be released from his responsibilities by claiming that the damage the consequences of force majeure. These provisions are contrary to the general principles of the Civil Code, but the intention of Quebec, given the importance of accidents, could be justified, it seems.

Hydrocarbons Law

Bill to be tabled tomorrow or Thursday also provides for Petroleum Resources Act, which protects for a while to information provided by companies to the Minister of Energy. The information could become available five years after the work when it comes to exploration and two years after the opening of a well.

Currently, this information is in the public domain as soon as one passes them to the minister. For Justice, this protection is illusory, since this information is accessible under the Law on Environmental Quality.

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