BC govern­ment strikes an­other blow to stop Kin­der Mor­gan pipe­line ex­pan­sion

The Miracle - - National & Int -

The B.C. govern­ment has de­liv­ered an­other blow to the Kin­der Mor­gan pipe­line twin­ning project. The prov­ince an­nounced plans Tues­day morn­ing to put a re­stric­tion on the amount of di­luted bi­tu­men that can be trans­ported by pipe­line or rail un­til the prov­ince can bet­ter un­der­stand the abil­ity to mit­i­gate spills. “The po­ten­tial for a di­luted bi­tu­men spill al­ready poses sig­nif­i­cant risk to our in­land and coastal en­vi­ron­ment and the thou­sands of ex­ist­ing tourism and marine har­vest­ing jobs,” said B.C. En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Ge­orge Hey­man. “Bri­tish Columbians right­fully ex­pect their govern­ment to de­fend B.C.’s coast­line and our in­land wa­ter­ways, and the eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­ests that are so im­por­tant to the peo­ple in our prov­ince, and we are work­ing hard to do just that.” Any re­stric­tion on the flow of di­luted bi­tu­men, or dil­bit as it is known, would pro­hibit an ex­pan­sion of Kin­der Mor­gan’s Trans Moun­tain pipe­line. The govern­ment is launch­ing an in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tific panel in Fe­bru­ary that will be re­spon­si­ble for de­ter­min­ing whether the prov­ince has the abil­ity to clean up spills. The es­ti­mate is the re­port could take about two years to com­plete. The govern­ment wants spe­cific re­search on the ef­fects of a spill in B.C. and is also seek­ing con­sul­ta­tion with in­dus­try, first na­tions and the pub­lic. The an­nounce­ment comes as part of the prov­ince’s sec­ond phase of reg­u­la­tions to im­prove re­sponse and re­cov­ery of po­ten­tial spills. The govern­ment is still look­ing at how it will en­force a mea­sure to re­strict the flow of dil­bit. “We will have all sorts of sug­ges­tions from peo­ple on how to im­ple­ment this, on how to en­force it if we do and what the stands should be,” said Hey­man. The fed­eral govern­ment has ap­proved the Kin­der Mor­gan pipe­line twin­ning. The $7.4-bil­lion project will ex­pand an ex­ist­ing 1,150-kilo­me­tre pipe­line be­tween Ed­mon­ton and Burn­aby. The ex­pan­sion would see three times more bi­tu­men moved to the B.C. coast ev­ery­day and a seven-fold in­crease in tanker traf­fic. Be­fore Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment, Kin­der Mor­gan was ex­pected to have the project com­pleted by Dec. 2020 de­pend­ing on reg­u­la­tory, per­mit and le­gal ap­provals. Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment has wide­spread sup­port from the Green Party, en­vi­ron­men­tal and First Na­tion groups that op­pose the pipe­line twin­ning. Green Party Leader An­drew Weaver took to Twit­ter to ap­plaud Hey­man and the govern­ment. “I am please to see Min­is­ter Hey­man putting ev­i­dence and sci­ence front and cen­tre in de­ci­sion mak­ing,” said Weaver in a state­ment. En­vi­ron­men­tal groups were quick to point out this seems to them to look like an end to the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line twin­ning. “If the B.C. govern­ment en­forces this and backs their words up with ac­tion it should be the nail in the cof­fin for Kin­der Mor­gan, it is a real sig­nal that the B.C. govern­ment is throw­ing up road blocks to this project,” said Tor­rance Coste, Van­cou­ver Is­land cam­paigner for the Wilder­ness com­mit­tee. “It’s a very bad day for Kin­der Mor­gan and a good day for the rest of us.” The prov­ince also an­nounc­ing Tues­day the re­view will look at spill re­sponse times, ge­o­graphic re­sponse plans and com­pen­sa­tion for loss of pub­lic and cul­tural use of land in the case of a spill. Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley says the B.C. govern­ment is “grasp­ing at straws” in an at­tempt to stop the pipe­line ex­pan­sion. Not­ley says B.C. is play­ing po­lit­i­cal games with the project and could put thou­sands of jobs in jeop­ardy by un­fairly de­lay­ing or block­ing the project. “The BC Govern­ment has ev­ery right to con­sult on what­ever it pleases with its cit­i­zens. It does not have the right to re­write our con­sti­tu­tion & as­sume pow­ers for it­self that it does not have,” said Not­ley in a state­ment posted on Twit­ter. “Job cre­ators need to be able to trust law mak­ers. To­day’s an­nounce­ment sug­gest that in BC they can­not. Bri­tish Columbians – in­deed all Cana­di­ans – de­serve bet­ter.”

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