BEPPLE – Horgan and NDP should be careful what they wish for on pipeline

(Kinder Morgan photo)

BE CAREFUL what you wish for, lest it come true.

That may sum up the quandary that Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP are in.  Horgan and his party have consistently stated they wanted more assurance on spill response to Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline and increased oil tanker traffic.  Horgan has stated again and again that the risks to the B.C. coast are too high for B.C. to sit idly by.

Up for debate is whether current spill technology can handle the diluted bitumen that would be pumped by Kinder Morgan.  Horgan is justified in asking that question.  It is the role of government to protect our environment.

The BC NDP is justified in pushing for stricter environmental criteria.  And as much as they might not want to, corporations deal with stricter environmental requirements on an ongoing basis. Stricter environmental requirements, tied with enforcement, protects the environment.

Horgan and the BC NDP are doing what governments should do.

But, be careful what you wish for, because now Kinder Morgan has put a halt to all non-essential work. Meanwhile,sh the Province of Alberta and the federal government are rattling their sabres trying to get B.C. to budge on their position.

If it was just B.C., Alberta, Ottawa and Kinder Morgan involved, then everyone involved would eventually come to the negotiating table, or have their day in court.  If it was only B.C., Alberta, Ottawa and Kinder Morgan at the table, then a deal could be found.

But, be careful what you wish for, because by justifiably pushing for more regulations, the BC NDP may now no longer wield the balance of power.

Rather than the provinces, federal, government, and corporations brokering a deal, it is First Nations and environmental groups who hold the reins.

Kinder Morgan has worked hard to sign agreements with 41 First Nations in B.C.  Locally, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and Whispering Pines have signed agreements.  But others including Coldwater Indian Band near Merritt, Tsleil-Waututh Nation on Burrard Inlet, and Squamish Nation have not signed agreements and are opposed to the pipeline expansion.

At the same time, numerous environmental groups such as Wilderness Committee, The Council of Canadians, and Greenpeace Canada have opposed the expansion of the pipeline for years. In recent weeks, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart have been arrested at Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby site.  In all, 170 people have been arrested opposing Kinder Morgan in recent weeks.

Now, Kinder Morgan has halted pipeline expansion.

While the BC NDP government is fighting for improved spill responses, First Nations and environmental groups have run an end game around everyone. The BC NDP’s concerns have been superseded by concerns such as First Nations sovereignty, stopping Oil Sands expansion and climate change.

If the BC NDP wanted to kill Kinder Morgan, then they could have come right out and said it long ago.

But, since they haven’t said that so far, they must want a deal as much as Alberta, Ottawa and Kinder Morgan.

The BC NDP wished for stronger environmental controls.  Their wishes helped embolden First Nations and environmental groups.

Now, BC NDP and Premier John Horgan need to start sitting down with all the parties, one-by-one, and hash things out.  And, they need to start with the First Nations and the environmental groups.

Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (6683 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on BEPPLE – Horgan and NDP should be careful what they wish for on pipeline

  1. The First Nations for sure but the Environmental Groups? How are the Greens going to their far-flung yoga retreats without plentiful of distillate for them air-buses?

  2. Nelson Riis // April 11, 2018 at 2:07 PM // Reply

    I believe that Nancy Bepple has finally identified what the Kinder Morgan issue is really about-the First Nations and environmental groups. The specific interests of the governments are clear as are the interests of Kinder Morgan. What is not so understood are those who live in the Lower Mainland and the Lower Coast. Together they represent more than the total population of Atlantic Canada. All of the First nations in the area strongly oppose the project as do the Mayors representing the people of Burnaby, Vancouver, Victoria, Saanich, North Vancouver, Richmond and more. The majority of people living in this area of BC oppose the project. Do you simply ignore the feelings of 100,000’s of those with the most to lose if/when there is a spill of toxic laced bitumen? This project has attracted world wide interest from those concerned about climate change and with the rights of First Nations who never signed any treaties ever. If necessary, thousands of people from around the world will descend on Burnaby to support the mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, etc. who will do what ever it takes to STOP Kinder Morgan from proceeding. Forget about politicians and KM shareholders. They will not have the final say on the future of this controversial project, ordinary people will.

  3. David Prytula // April 11, 2018 at 11:46 AM // Reply

    Here is the best article and power point about the coastal journey that tankers have to take from Burnaby to the ocean:

    And of course the best article on some the bridge disasters, a big super tanker could end up taking out both bridges if it clipped one :

    One only needs to bike,run or walk around the seawall to UBC to appreciate what we would lose with a disaster.

    And to appreciate the disaster potential more ,a person should take this route by boat.And understanding also that there is at present no cleanup equipment or technology anywhere that could protect the coast and certainly not on the BC coast.The BC cruise ship industry would be dead in the water as would the many other industries along the coast….

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