Monday, 17 December, 2018

Trans Mountain pipeline project purchase ‘major step forward’: Rachel Notley

Quebecers gathered to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in Montreal on Sunday Trans Mountain pipeline project purchase ‘major step forward’: Rachel Notley
Theresa Hayes | 29 May, 2018, 19:31

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government plans to spend $4.5 billion Canadian (US$3.4 billion) to purchase Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.

Morneau presented the options during an early-morning cabinet meeting Tuesday before ministers signed off on the chosen option, which comes just days before the company's self-imposed May 31 deadline and is still subject to the approval of Kinder Morgan shareholders.

"It must be built and it will be built", Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

"So our message today is simple: when we are faced with an exceptional situation that puts jobs at risk, that puts our global reputation on the line, our government is prepared to take action", he said.

In return, Kinder Morgan will go ahead with its original plan to twin the pipeline this summer while the sale is finalized, which likely won't happen until August, Morneau told a news conference in Ottawa.

The federal finance minister said the government does not plan to be the long-term owner of the pipeline and expects the project to be transferred to private sector investors "at an appropriate time".

The purchase includes the pipeline, pumping stations, and rights of way along the route.

Opponents of the Kinder Morgan project are concerned over the environmental impact of extracting more fossil fuels from Alberta's oil sands and the possibility of an oil tanker spill in Canada's Pacific waters.

There has been intense opposition towards the project from environmental groups and some Indigenous communities in B.C.

"As part of the agreement, the Government of Canada has agreed to fund the resumption of TMEP planning and construction work by guaranteeing TMEP's expenditures under a separate Federal Government recourse credit facility until the transaction closes", Kinder Morgan said.

The project faces fierce opposition from the government of British Columbia (BC) and environmentalists.

Steve Kean, chairman and chief executive of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., said the deal represents the best opportunity to complete the expansion project. Currently, he said yesterday, Canada is losing US$11.56 billion (C$15 billion) annually because of the pipeline constraint. They have also asked the court to reopen its evidentiary record, more than six months after hearings concluded, to consider new evidence uncovered by a National Observer investigation that revealed public servants were instructed to find a way to approve the project before the government had concluded consultations with First Nations.

Editor's note: This article was updated with additional quotes and background at 11:05 a.m. on May 29, 2018.