Federal government approves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, subject to conditions

Kinder Morgan Pipeline

by EVAN MATTHEWS

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced conditional approval of Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand their pipeline which will almost triple capacity from about 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day – and Kinder Morgan says could begin construction by September 2017.

Though Kinder Morgan says the pipeline’s route will deviate slightly from the existing route built 60 years ag, which runs through the Robson Valley from Edmonton to Burnaby. The new pipe will essentially run from Jasper along Highway 16 toward Rearguard Station and the Junction, before veering south to the West of Valemount.

The approval, according to the Feds, is subject to 157 binding conditions addressing potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts, including project engineering, safety and emergency preparedness.

A press release from Kinder Morgan notes they will continue to seek all necessary permits, and they are planning to begin construction in September 2017, with an in-service date for the twinned pipeline expected in late 2019.  The company says other next steps include a final cost estimate review with shippers committed to the Project and a final investment decision by the Kinder Morgan Board of Directors

 

“This project has evolved substantially as a result of the scrutiny it has undergone and the input received from communities, Indigenous and Metis groups and individuals,” says Ian Anderson President of Kinder Morgan Canada. “No voice has gone unheard, and we thank everyone who has helped make this Project better.”

The project also faces five conditions from BC’s provincial government.

In July 2012, Clark set five conditions for the project: completion of environmental reviews, world-leading practices for oil spill prevention, cutting-edge land and water cleanup programs, meeting concerns of First Nations and a fair share of profits.

The province has given the federal government’s new oceans protection plan a thumbs up if additional resources for marine spill response are offered, though Clark said Tuesday that the five Provincial conditions have not yet been met.

The government also made three other pipeline decisions this week: The Government directed the National Energy Board (NEB) to dismiss Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipelines Project application. The government says it has determined that the project is not in the public interest, given that it would result in crude oil tankers transiting through the sensitive ecosystem of the Douglas Channel, which is part of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr also announced a moratorium on crude and persistent oil tankers along B.C.’s north coast.

 

The area affected spans the Alaska–B.C. border, down to the point on B.C.’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and includes Haida Gwaii.

The Federal Government says via its statement, that it made this decision following consultations with stakeholders including Indigenous groups and communities.

“Canadians expect the Government of Canada to help grow the economy while protecting the environment,” says Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.

“This tanker moratorium is another example of how this can be achieved, and shows our commitment to establishing a world-leading marine safety system meeting the needs of all Canadians,” he says.

The Federal Government will introduce legislation to implement the moratorium by the spring of 2017.

The federal government did approve Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project, subject to 37 binding conditions that will address potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts. This $4.8-billion project will replace 1,067 kilometres of existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Gretna, Manitoba, “to enhance its safety and integrity.” The project will generate significant economic benefits, the government says, including $514.7 million in federal and provincial government revenues and 7,000 new jobs during construction. It also provides a vital link to the North American refinery market for Canadian oil.

In March, the Simpcw First Nation signed a Mutual Benefits Agreement with Kinder Morgan relating to the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Last year, Kinder Morgan announced a contribution of $185,000 to Valemount as part of a group of community benefit agreements, should their application be approved.

Valemount has earmarked the funds for four main projects: The water intake project; updating the emergency plan; the mountain bike park and bridge construction; and support for students in trades, technology and environmental programs related to the pipeline industry.

Whether or not the funds stay allocated to those projects, time will tell.

Kinder Morgan has estimated the project to cost $6.8-billion, while at the same time creating 15,000 new jobs during construction.

The expansion will also provide access to global markets and generate significant direct economic benefits, including $4.5-billion in Federal and Provincial government revenues, according to the Federal Government.

In order to approve the expansion, the Federal Government says it considered a wide variety of information and data, including the National Energy Board’s (NEB) recommendation report, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions, the views of Canadians and enhanced consultations with Indigenous peoples.

 

— With RMG files

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