ibusinesslines.com October 18, 2018

'Certainty is increased': Notley on federal plan to buy Trans Mountain expansion

31 May 2018, 03:47 | Justin Tyler

'Certainty is increased': Notley on federal plan to buy Trans Mountain expansion

'Certainty is increased': Notley on federal plan to buy Trans Mountain expansion

The federal government's decision to buy the assets of the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion prompted swift reaction Tuesday from local First Nations who are opposing the project.

But if one isn't found by July 22, Kinder Morgan's stake in the pipeline would be bought out by the Canadian government, which would proceed with the expansion, whose cost has been estimated at about $5.7 billion.

But British Columbia's social democratic government recently joined environmental activists' fight against the pipeline, prompting a trade row with neighbor Alberta and leading Kinder Morgan to temporarily halt its construction until the dispute was resolved.

Trudeau's government "has just signed up to captain the Titanic of tar sands oil pipelines", said Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, who added that the purchase puts the federal government on a "collision course" with its commitments to Indigenous groups.

"The Indigenous-led, people-powered movement that led Kinder Morgan to abandon ship on this project is stronger than ever and will not back down".

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said the purchase would ensure that work begins in time for the summer construction season, and that it represents "a sound investment opportunity" for Canada.

People in New Brunswick are gob-smacked that the federal government has bought a pipeline, after engineering the demise of Energy East. Don Darling, the Saint John mayor, said Ottawa claims Trans Mountain is in the national interest because it will create jobs.

Indemnification means the federal government would legally agree to bear any financial losses incurred by Kinder Morgan because of yet to be defined "politically motivated delays". It is expected to close in August 2018, with Kinder Morgan retaining control of the pipeline and its assets until then.

Alberta province also pledged to provide "emergency funding" for the pipeline's construction, if needed. The controversy almost led Kinder Morgan to scrap the deal. The government also does not have a buyer in mind to eventually take on the project.

Next, taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of twinning the project - an estimated $7.4 billion and climbing.

Horgan told reporters in Victoria the federal government's takeover of the project changes the legal situation, but his contentious legal action isn't aimed at any specific project.

"They took a decision that was reflecting a broader interest", she said. A slim majority of Canadians, 54 per cent, backed the project in an April poll from Angus Reid. Steven J. Kean, the president of Kinder Morgan, called it a "great day for Canada, for our customers and for our employees".

"Canada stands to sacrifice its worldwide reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people - all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers".

Still, the federal government approved the pipeline in November 2016, on the condition that it meet 157 conditions related to its impact on Indigenous communities, environmental impacts and myriad other areas.

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