Indigenous activists eye oil spill at Kinder Morgan pumping station

Virginia Carson
May 30, 2018

The Canadian government announced it will buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets for $4.5 billion if another buyer isn't found by August.

The B.C. government is carrying on with its reference case against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Premier John Horgan told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an early-morning phone call Tuesday.

Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz weighed into the debate over the federal governments plans to buy out the Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

Will George, a spokesman for the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, which has led resistance to the project, said the federal takeover guarantees a broader coalition of opposition in the coming months.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the TransCanada expansion will move forward Who supports the deal?

The parent company, Kinder Morgan Inc, expects to collect around $1.25 billion after tax from its share of the sale.

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Finding a buyer for Trans Mountain could be tricky amid ardent opposition from British Columbia, the Pacific Coast province it crosses, along with environmental and some indigenous groups.

Scheer said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to provide certainty and "done nothing" to establish federal jurisdiction. Suzanne Wilton, a spokeswoman for Enbridge, said the company is focused on its C$22 billion growth program and would not speculate on the project. The much more ambitious Energy East project was abandoned by TransCanada Corp. amid outcry in Quebec - and no government move to save it.

One man said he thought the project would be profitable for Canada.

"Trudeau just dropped $4.5 billion of your money on a 65 year old pipeline that leaks".

Building the pipeline in the face of aggressive opposition in British Columbia "could ultimately require significant resources from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police", they noted, and the federal Liberals may be "highly reluctant to use force" ahead of next year's federal election, the analysts suggested. It is deeply unpopular with the province's environmentalists and many indigenous groups, and Mr Horgan has been fighting to delay its construction over regulatory concerns.

The government does not intend to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, however, and has already begun speaking with interested parties about transferring ownership later on. Steven J. Kean, the president of Kinder Morgan, called it a "great day for Canada, for our customers and for our employees".

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A protest sign at a rally against the Trans Mountain pipeline in Vancouver Tuesday evening.

The overwhelming majority of Canada's oil exports are sold to American refiners at a discount to worldwide benchmarks, reducing fuel prices for American consumers and income for Canadian producers.

However, the $4.5-billion loan may not be enough to see the pipeline through. "I encourage them to continue to express their disappointment within the rule of law", he said. A new Crown corporation will be created to manage the project.

"The federal government has responded and that's their business".

The forecast price of oil, in particular, West Texas Intermediate which is averaging at US$70 a barrel could be an "upside risk to the forecast", the report said. The oil continues to be shipped here by rail bed.

After the government's announcement, the NDP indicated that its position remains the same.

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