Un­cer­tainty grows for Trans Mtn.

B.C. looks to re­strict more bi­tu­men ship­ments

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Ian Bickis

The B.C. gov­ern­ment has launched its lat­est ef­fort to hin­der de­vel­op­ment of Kin­der Mor­gan Inc.’s Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion project with a pro­posal to at least tem­po­rar­ily re­strict in­creases in di­luted bi­tu­men ship­ments.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter George Hey­man said Tues­day the prov­ince plans to ban the in­crease of oil ex­ports un­til it can de­ter­mine through an ad­vi­sory panel that ship­pers are pre­pared and able to prop­erly clean up a spill.

“Our pro­posal is to re­strict the in­crease of (di­luted bi­tu­men) through reg­u­la­tion un­til we can be cer­tain there are ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to pre­vent a spill, and to ad­e­quately clean it up to pre­vent cat­a­strophic dam­age if it hap­pens on any num­ber of fronts,” he said.

“If we can’t be sat­is­fied that that can hap­pen once we re­ceive the sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory panel, there would be no rea­son to lift the re­stric­tion.”

The gov­ern­ment will es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory panel to study the is­sue, and will also seek in­put from First Na­tions, in­dus­try, lo­cal gov­ern­ments, en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and the pub­lic over the com­ing months, said Hey­man.

The pro­posal cre­ates more un­cer­tainty for Kin­der Mor­gan’s al­ready-de­layed Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion project that would nearly triple the ca­pac­ity of its pipe­line sys­tem to 890,000 bar­rels a day.

The com­pany said it would ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the en­gage­ment and feed­back process that the prov­ince has an­nounced, while point­ing out the Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion project was al­ready thor­oughly stud­ied be­fore it se­cured ap­proval.

“The ex­pan­sion project’s ap­proval by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada fol­lowed a rig­or­ous and lengthy reg­u­la­tory process that in­cluded a thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion of the pipe­line and prod­ucts be­ing shipped.”

B.C.’s move was met with con­dem­na­tion by Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley, who has long

cham­pi­oned the pipe­line to get Al­berta crude to new mar­kets.

“Hav­ing run out of tools in the tool­box, the gov­ern­ment of B.C. is now grasp­ing at straws,” said Not­ley, call­ing the pro­posal rash, il­le­gal and un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“It is so far be­yond the scope of what they have the le­gal abil­ity to do, they are cre­at­ing a mockery of our fed­eral sys­tem, and it truly does jeop­ar­dize in­vestor con­fi­dence,” said Not­ley.

Fed­eral Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Jim Carr said in a state­ment that his gov­ern­ment stands by the de­ci­sion to ap­prove the ex­pan­sion project, just as it stands by its com­mit­ment to Cana­di­ans to im­ple­ment worldlead­ing mea­sures to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

“The de­ci­sion we took on the Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion re­mains in the na­tional in­ter­est. And it was a de­ci­sion based on facts and ev­i­dence — this has not changed,” Carr said.

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