B.C. cre­ates more un­cer­tainty for Trans Moun­tain project

The Prince George Citizen - - Money - Ian BICKIS

CAL­GARY — 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 that 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 gen­eral 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 that 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 ex­am­ina- tion 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.

Op­po­nents of the project in B.C. - in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal groups – wel­comed the move.

West Coast En­vi­ron­men­tal Law ex­ec­u­tive director Jessica Clogg said it was a clear threat to the project.

“What this re­ally is, is an enor­mous sword hang­ing over Kin­der Mor­gan,” said Clogg.

“It’s a wake up call of what’s

SEATTLE — Ama­zon, War­ren Buf­fett’s Berk­shire Hath­away and the New York bank JPMor­gan Chase are team­ing up to cre­ate health care com­pany “free from profit-mak­ing in­cen­tives and con­straints.”

Buf­fett, in a pre­pared state­ment Tues­day, called the sky­rock­et­ing costs of health care in the U.S. the “hun­gry tape­worm on the Amer­i­can econ­omy.” com­ing, and re­ally I think has to be taken very se­ri­ously, be­cause it’s a sig­nal that if the sci­ence is not there to show that a spill can be cleaned up safely and ef­fec­tively, Kin­der Mor­gan may not be in a po­si­tion to turn on the tap, even if they can get their project built.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have been wait­ing for an an­nounce­ment like this for a while, said Clogg, af­ter the B.C. NDP com­mit­ted along with the B.C. Green Party to op­pose the pipe­line with all avail­able tools.

B.C. Green Party Leader An­drew Weaver said in a re­lease that he was pleased to see the min­is­ter is putting ev­i­dence and sci­ence front and cen­tre in gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

“I look for­ward to the new panel pro­vid­ing com­plete, robust and ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on this mat­ter to the Min­is­ter that re­in­forces what which we al­ready know – that there is no way cur­rently to ad­e­quately re­spond to a spill of di­luted bi­tu­men.”

The am­bi­tious goal, they say, is in the early plan­ning stages, but the seis­mic na­ture of the an­nounce­ment sent a shock­wave through the health in­dus­try.

Shares of health care com­pa­nies are fall­ing.

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