Trans Mountain court action continues, John Horgan says


Image Credit CFJC Today

3:17pm Image Credit CFJC Today

Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built - a project that Kinder Morgan itself has indicated is "untenable" and that faces more than a dozen lawsuits, crumbling economics, and a growing resistance movement that is spreading around the world.

"The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for Premier Notley's continued support for the project, and confirmed that the agreement will guarantee the resumption of work for the summer construction season and protect thousands of jobs", said the Prime Minister's Office, in a release.

Trudeau said Canada loses $15 billion a year because oil can not be exported anywhere but the United States, adding that the pipeline expansion opens up the option of exporting to Asian markets.

The $7.4 billion expansion is in addition to spending the $4.5 billion "to be at square one", said May.

The pipeline has faced a number of legal and regulatory challenges from the BC government that has delayed construction of the project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016. "All they were really asking for was certainty that they could proceed with building the pipeline".

The federal government plan to take over the project comes two days before a deadline from Kinder Morgan for assurances the pipeline would be built without further delays, or they would walk away.

But he added in a statement that the association is "deeply concerned" that the government felt it had to purchase the project "to assert federal jurisdiction" and allow it to be built.

News that the federal government is buying the pipeline surprised Martin Tallett, president of Massachusetts-based oil market research firm EnSys Energy.

The Alberta government also has pledged a contingency fund of up to about $1.5 billion to provide emergency funds to the project if unforeseen circumstances arise.

The big environmental groups are already announcing that the new project is doomed.

The deal brings some certainty to an expansion project that has been on the rocks since B.C. went to court in hopes of blocking it, fearing the impact of a spill of diluted bitumen, the raw output from Alberta's oilsands.

So instead of settling these jurisdictional issues or enforcing its will, the Trudeau government has made a decision to spend its way out of trouble. The proposal called for twinning an existing pipeline that runs from Edmonton, Burnaby, B.C. and would almost triple its output from 300,000 barrels a day to almost 900,000 barrels a day.

"If you think about the dozens of pipelines that exist for crude oil, natural gas liquids, natural gas itself, petroleum products, all throughout the USA and Canada - and we track this stuff - I'm not aware of a single one that's owned by any government entity ... not on this scale".

No legislative action is planned at this time, Carr said - noting no legislation is needed to move forward with the proposed commercial transaction.

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

"John Horgan picked a fight with Alberta and provoked a constitutional crisis with Ottawa over this project and this is now the embarrassing result", Wilkinson said. On the heels of Trudeau's announcement, the Vancouver-based Indigenous rights group Coast Protectors scheduled a rally for Tuesday evening to "say no to Trudeau's pipeline buy out".

The deal between Ottawa and Kinder Morgan will see construction by the company resume until the sale is finalized, and then the federal Liberals will take over and look to sell the project to interested investors later on. Those costs would be covered either directly or indirectly through reimbursement by the Canadian taxpayer.

Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Pipeline Producers, said what happens this week is "huge, not just for our industry or this pipeline, but I think for Canada".

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