B.C., Alberta clash as Kinder Morgan suspends Trans Mountain work

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley promises “serious economic consequences” for B.C.

Kinder Morgan announced Sunday afternoon that it will stop all non-essential work and any related spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion between Edmonton and Burnaby.

The controversial project would twin an existing oil pipeline that extends from central Alberta to the west coast.

READ: Trudeau says Trans Mountain pipeline will go through

“A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments,” said KML chairman and CEO Steve Kean in a statement.

The company said it would speak with stakeholders before making a decision by May 31, “rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control.”

This move comes after Kinder Morgan had already slowed down work on the pipeline expansion, as it focused on advancing the permitting process rather than pushing ahead at full speed during the first half of 2018.

“We appreciate the support shown by the federal government and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and are grateful for the strong endorsements among the majority of communities along the route and 43 Indigenous communities, as well as customers, contractors and unions,” Kean continued.

“The fact remains that a substantial portion of the project must be constructed through British Columbia, and since the change in government in June 2017, that government has been clear and public in its intention to use ‘every tool in the toolbox’ to stop the project. The uncertainty created by BC has not been resolved but instead has escalated into an inter-governmental dispute.”

Despite the news, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she was “very optimistic” that the pipeline would be built.

“Albertans have been clear, get this pipeline built and Albertans are right, this pipeline must be built,” Notley told the media Sunday.

She threatened to bring forth legislation that would heat up the trade war between the two provinces.

“If Premier Horgan believes he can harass this project without serious economic consequences for British Columbia, then he is wrong,” Notley said.

“If I was a resident of British Columbia I would be very worried about the investment climate of B.C.”

Speaking at a press conference an hour later, Premier John Horgan said he wasn’t worried in the slightest.

“We are open for business and we are a great place to invest,” Horgan said. “I have no intention of escalating controversy across the country.

“I have every expectation that people will respect British Columbia’s right to defend our interest and defend our coast, and that’s what I will do,” he affirmed.

Although Horgan and Notley haven’t spoken since Kinder Morgan’s announcement today, Horgan said that he has spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

While the two disagree on the pipeline, Horgan said “there were no threats, there was no intimidation” from Trudeau, despite a longstanding federal belief that the project is in the national interest of the country.

The Trans Mountain project has been the source of months of tension between the two provinces. Notley instituted, and then reneged from, a ban on B.C. wine, and suspended talks to purchase electricity from B.C., with Horgan vowing to fight the pipeline in court.

“The Government of Alberta can do and should do whatever it thinks is necessary,” said Horgan.

When asked how B.C. can justify pushing back against a federally-approved project, Horgan said he believed protecting B.C. was fully within the province’s jurisdiction.

There was “no constitutional crisis” when Energy East was cancelled, Horgan pointed out.

READ: B.C. ‘very disappointed’ by court decision to not hear Trans Mountain appeal

If Kinder Morgan’s investors are scared off by the interprovincial dispute, Notley said that Alberta wouldn’t be.

“Alberta is prepared to be an investor in the pipeline,” she added, declining to say what that would mean financially for her province.

Notley lauded the federal government for its pro-pipeline stance but said that Ottawa needs to do more to push the project through.

“Federal approval of a project must be worth more than the paper it is written on,” she said.

The work stoppage on the pipeline expansion comes just days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited B.C. to reiterate Canada’s commitment to the project, despite ongoing opposition from protesters and the B.C. government.

READ: Protesters gather ahead of Trudeau visit to Victoria

Kinder Morgan said it has spent $1.1 billion to develop the project since its initial filing with the National Energy Board in 2013. Concern over the provincial government’s participation in an ongoing judicial review and its assertion of broad jurisdiction have created growing uncertainty to the regulatory landscape.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Trio of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock events planned for Port Alberni

Cancer Society volunteers work behind the scenes to fundraise for tour

Man rescued from cliff on Harbour Road in Port Alberni

Fire department uses new equipment in rope rescue

Alberni Valley firefighters head to Fort St. James to assist with B.C. wildfires

‘We need to make sure first and foremost our community is protected’: Gilday

City of Port Alberni agrees to three-year extension of track surface

Bob Dailey Stadium track has experienced ‘degradation and tears’ since resurfacing in 2013

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

B.C. judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Most Read