Friday, 17 August, 2018

Ottawa's planned purchase of pipeline elicits shock, disappointment

$4.5B Trans Mountain plan won't mean Ottawa in pipeline business, says Morneau Cheam Chief Ernie Crey welcomes TMX buyout deal by feds
Elsie Buchanan | 31 May, 2018, 20:06

"To guarantee the summer construction season for the workers who are counting on it, and to ensure the project is built to completion in a timely fashion, the federal government has reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, and the infrastructure related to the Trans Mountain expansion project", Morneau told reporters in Ottawa.

"Keep in mind Kinder Morgan wanted to build this, with zero taxpayer dollars, but they were getting so much resistance and the government was doing nothing to try to get the provinces on board or to introduce legislation to move things ahead", said Gladu.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the government's long-awaited, big-budget strategy on Tuesday to save the plan to expand the oilsands pipeline.

Canada's government has said it is buying a controversial pipeline expansion project to ensure it gets built in the face of stiff opposition from environmental activists and a regional government. 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.

The purchase will be financed by Export Development Canada and includes; the pipeline, pumping stations, the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. and rights of way along the pipeline between Edmonton and Vancouver.

Horgan, for his part, said the change in ownership does not change his party's stance on the pipeline, nor his concerns with the project.

"As of today, this is the most certainty that this project has ever had", she said. "Now they [the Liberals] have left all their eggs in the Kinder Morgan basket".

"This decision will haunt Trudeau government".

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"It's very possible we might not have to spend a cent of it", Notley said of the financial backing, which would be payable only when oil begins to flow from the twinned pipeline. "In this case we have all of that", said Berman, who was cleared of aiding and abetting protesters at the Clayoquot blockade and is now an adjunct professor of environmental studies at York University in Toronto.

She says now that the feds are buying the pipeline, "they have a form of Crown immunity, which actually limits the degree to which provincial laws would apply to the project because it's a federal project now". Canada's long-term plan is to finance the costs of construction through the paid contracts with oil producers to ship their oil through the pipeline, and recoup its investment through an eventual sale.

"It does not change the course that the Government of British Columbia has been on", Horgan said.

For the people anxious that taxpayers might be left on the hook for the cost and billions more, they should relax and look at the history.

The pipeline has faced a number of legal and regulatory challenges from the BC government that has delayed construction of the project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016.

Kinder Morgan had set a Thursday deadline to gain certainty over the project or abandon it altogether.

Next, taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of twinning the project - an estimated $7.4 billion and climbing. He said that the pipeline had "significant commercial value" and that the government intends to sell it to private investors over time. He promised that this project could not go through unless it was done through a vigorous review, which he broke'.

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