The B.C. government gave the green light today (Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017) to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Premier Christy Clark said the “five conditions” her government had put on B.C.’s approval have been met, including financial compensation. Part of the environmental-certificate agreement is payment by pipeline owner Kinder Morgan of between $25 million and $50 million per year for 20 years.
The government has also added 37 other conditions to the 157 conditions required by the national Energy Board.
Here’s some of the official reaction from Kinder Morgan and environmental groups:
“The Province has been clear from the very beginning and today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of work to demonstrate to British Columbians that our Project meets both the regulatory requirements and the B.C. Government’s Conditions to move forward,” said Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada. “We believe this represents a positive outcome for our company, customers and for British Columbians and all Canadians who will benefit from the construction and operation of an expanded pipeline.”
… Trans Mountain has also committed to a “British Columbians first” policy for hiring and contracting work within B.C., giving qualified and competitive B.C. companies the first opportunity at the jobs building, operating and maintaining the pipeline system. The Project is expected to generate a total of more than 800,000 person years of employment over the life of the Project, including an anticipated workforce of the equivalent of more than 15,000 jobs per year during construction each year between 2017 and 2019.
… Next steps will include a final investment decision by the Kinder Morgan Board of Directors. Trans Mountain is planning to begin construction in September 2017, with an in-service date for the twinned pipeline system expected in late 2019.
Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics):
“With today’s decision Premier Clark and her government have betrayed people from across British Columbia,” said Sven Biggs, Energy and Climate Campaigner for Stand.earth. “This was Christy Clark’s opportunity to defend our coast — and she chose a Texas oil company over the well-being of her own province.”
The Clark Government defends their decision by claiming the pipeline has met the province’s “Five Conditions” on heavy oil pipelines. However, this is disputed by economists, First Nations leaders, and environmentalists.
… “Furthermore the 37 conditions added by the province do little to protect the public,” said Mahon.
Sierra Club B.C.:
“Today’s decision is an abject failure to stand up for B.C.’s interests.
“Despite Premier Clark’s spin on it, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers are a terrible deal for British Columbians.
“This is not a deal, this is a B.C. sell-out. This is a betrayal of the hardworking people and places of this resource-rich province.
“The 5 conditions have not been met.
“No glossy announcement changes the fact that even with the best technology, diluted bitumen simply can’t be cleaned up. Eighty-five per cent of the oil left in the water isn’t clean. Does Premier Clark think toxic jobs in oil spill response make this a good deal for B.C.?
“The Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers is all risk and no reward for British Columbians. After the jobs in construction have ended, this project would put at risk over 98,000 coast-dependent jobs.
“B.C. has been doubly betrayed, by both our federal and provincial government. It is now up to British Columbians to protect this coast and our climate.
“This pipeline won’t be built.”
Premier Clark’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline Wednesday puts her squarely in league with the fossil fuel industry over the people she represents.
“How can a government so blatantly align itself against the wishes and interests of its own citizens?” said Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner. “Right when we need our leadership to stand up to Alberta and Ottawa, they buckle like a cheap lawn chair.”
The government believes its five conditions have been met. These include world-leading spill response on land and water, legal requirements of Aboriginal rights and title and a fair share of the money generated from the project.
“We’ve known all along that the government’s five conditions were political posturing instead of a real assessment of the risks and benefits for BC,” said McCartney. “British Columbians aren’t stupid. Those conditions were never worth the paper they were written on.”