BC NDP government to make Trans Mountain Pipeline announcement Thursday

Aug 12, 2017, 00:22
BC NDP government to make Trans Mountain Pipeline announcement Thursday

The British Columbia provincial government has monkey-wrenched the start of construction for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, announcing Thursday that it is taking legal and administrative steps to stop the project.

"Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbor is not in B.C.'s best interests - not for our economy, our environment, or thousands of existing jobs".

Heyman said until consultation related to First Nations are "completed in a way that meets B.C.'s legal obligations, work on this project on public lands can not proceed".

Heyman said the government's action will take two forms - legal and consultative.

The Trans Mountain extension would connect Alberta to British Columbia and triple Kinder Morgan's capacity.

In a federal court application for a judicial review of the NEB's approval of the pipeline expansion, the province will seek intervener status.

"Remember, they said they would use every tool in the toolbox to fight this, and what's left in the toolbox?"

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"Until those plans are completed, Kinder Morgan - with the exception of private land, and with the exception of some clearing of right-of-way - can not put shovels in the ground", he said.

As well, the Squamish First Nation has a court challenge related to inadequate consultation by Kinder Morgan on its project, which proposes to nearly triple the number of barrels of oil shipped per day from Edmonton to the shores of Burrard Inlet, increasing from 300,000 to 890,000.

"We also have abilities with respect to permits on stream crossings and other issues that require provincial responsibility, and we're going to exercise those", Horgan said.

With its approval from the National Energy Board late a year ago and endorsement under the previous BC Liberal government, Kinder Morgan has been pushing ahead in meeting outstanding conditions and getting ready for construction.

Rich Coleman, interim leader of the BC Liberal Party, however, said the province stands to lose almost $20 billion in GDP should the NDP kill a project that has already met B.C.'s conditions.

Notley said she was pleased that in Thursday's announcement, the government moved away from discussing halting the pipeline and shifted to making sure environmental and First Nations concerns are met. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with consultation activities in September".

The government also plans to review the ways in which resource projects are approved. Kinder Morgan Canada's stock price fell 3.6% in trading on Toronto stock market, closing the session at C$17.28.

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