EDITORIAL – CER report that says TMX might not be needed is too late

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ALL ONE HAS TO DO is drive past the airport or up the North Thompson Valley along Westsyde Road to know that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is going to happen.

Protests won’t stop it. Environmentalists won’t stop it. Neither will a report released this week by the Canada Energy Regulator that says it might not be needed.

That’s right, the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly the National Energy Board, the outfit that has the power over federal approval of pipelines. The report doesn’t take a position on whether Trans Mountain should or shouldn’t be built, but it does say that if Canada strengthens its climate policies it won’t be needed.

In fact, it says the Keystone XL pipeline might not be needed either. However, the report also says that if no substantial new energy policies are introduced, the new pipelines will be needed but will be the last ones required to handle what growth is left in the oil industry.

Judging how much pipeline capacity is needed is a tricky business. One industry expert says it’s not a case of building for total annual flow but for peak demand.

Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, likens it to building freeways based on the total number of cars that drive on them rather than building for peak periods.

It reminds me of the winter conundrum at City Hall: buying enough snow plows for average snowfalls versus enough for the biggest snowfall of the year, except the City spends for the average rather than the peak.

Meanwhile, along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline up and down the North Thompson, trucks, machinery and crews are hard at work preparing the rights of way for the trenching and pipe installation that will be underway in earnest within a few weeks.

All the protests and reports in the world won’t stop it from happening.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9052 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.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – CER report that says TMX might not be needed is too late

  1. Ian MacKenzie // November 26, 2020 at 2:17 PM // Reply

    Considering the political capital that Trudeau has already wasted on this white elephant he doesn’t have much choice. Smacks of Horgan’s dilemma re Site C, with an equal amount of waste with taxpayer’s money. I fervently hope that both those botched decisions by so-called “leaders” are recalled before we the taxpayers, and our unwitting descendants are forced to pump many more billions into what will become nothing more than tourist attractions of pyramid proportions. Please, you two, admit those projects were mistakes, cut our losses, and stop the construction!

  2. R Marcus Lowe // November 26, 2020 at 9:26 AM // Reply

    Cross-Canada-Transportation-Corridor for goods, services, and people would be able to utilize the disturbed land of the TMX pipeline. Engineered properly, it would be greatly beneficial, safer than highways and railways, a way to win-win-win.

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