Facts and Recent News on Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Texas-based multinational Kinder Morgan is proposing to expand its oilsands pipeline system to B.C.'s West Coast by building the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Upon completion, the Trans Mountain pipeline system would transport more than 890,000 barrels a day of primarily diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to B.C.’s west coast. Most of this heavy oil is destined for Westridge dock in Burnaby, where it would be loaded onto oil tankers that would navigate past Vancouver, the Gulf Islands and Victoria before reaching open ocean.

The expansion would increase oil tanker traffic from around 60 per year to more than 400 per year. The Trans Mountain pipeline project is under review by the National Energy Board — a process that has been criticized for its lack of oral cross-examination, its failure to consider climate change, the rights of First Nations and its failure to compel answers from Kinder Morgan on key questions such as oil spill response capability.

In November 2014, dozens of citizens were arrested on Burnaby Mountain while protesting engineering work by Kinder Morgan on the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Trans Mountain expansion is opposed by the mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby. In May of 2014 the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation launched a legal challenge against the pipeline, saying the National Energy Board and the Canadian government failed to meet their legal obligation to consult the band during the pipeline review process.

Former energy executive Marc Eliesen, who was an intervener in the hearings, dropped out of the process in late 2014, calling it “fraudulent.” Eliesen called for the province of B.C. to cancel the equivalency agreement with the federal government, effectively rendering the National Energy Board review meaningless. His call has been echoed by the B.C. NDP party and the Green party.

In his 2015 federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to overhauling the National Energy Board and review process of major pipeline proposals. Speaking to Kai Nagata of the Dogwood Initiative while on the campaign trail, he confirmed that yes, the overhaul would apply to existing proposals including Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain — but that never happened.

On May 19, 2016, the National Energy Board issued a report recommending that the government approve the Trans Mountain pipeline, subject to 157 conditions. At the same time, the federal government appointed a three-person panel to conduct an additional review of the project to help restore public trust. Hearings occurred over the summer of 2016. Critics said there was inadequate or nonexistent notice to affected First Nations and communities and municipalities ahead of the hearings. In Victoria B.C., hundreds of people couldn’t fit into the hotel ballroom where the consultation occurred.

In November 2016, Trudeau announced his government's approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Image credit: Roy Luck on Flickr.

DeSmog Canada's latest news coverage on the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

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By James Wilt • Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 17:39
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain protest

The new B.C. NDP government has officially taken its first major step in attempting to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

On Thursday morning, it announced it will seek intervener status in upcoming legal challenges to the federal approval of the pipeline.

The announcement helps to fulfill what was pledged in the now-famous NDP-Green “confidence and supply agreement” to “immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

Perhaps the most significant part of the announcement was who the B.C. government hired as external legal counsel for the process: Thomas Berger, one of the most renowned lawyers in Canadian history, especially in the realm of Indigenous and environmental rights.

Here’s a quick explainer about who Berger is, and what message this hiring sends.

By Guest • Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 13:56
Christy Clark and Petronas CEO Tan Sri Dato

This is a guest post by Lisa Sammartino, the democracy campaigner for B.C.'s largest democracy group Dogwood. It originally ran on The Tyee.

Christy Clark rounded out her final days in office with a parting gift — not to British Columbians but to a loyal BC Liberal donor, Taseko Mines. The company donated more than $130,000 to the BC Liberals, and now they’ve scooped up Clark’s prize.

While members of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation were being chased from their homes by an aggressive wildfire, Clark’s outgoing government approved exploratory permits for the company to dig up their traditional, and constitutionally protected, lands — an area so culturally and environmentally important that Harper’s Conservatives rejected federal permits twice.

But then again, the federal Conservative party can’t accept corporate donations. Over here in the “Wild West,” Clark’s BC Liberals can, and did.

By James Wilt • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:21
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association integrity dig

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has quietly stopped requiring pipeline companies to post the geographic coordinates of repairs, DeSmog Canada has learned.

The federal pipeline regulator cites “public safety” as the reason for deciding to limit information on the specific location of “integrity digs” to examine cracks, corrosion or dents — but critics argue the decision compromises the ability of Canadians to access information about the safety of pipelines.

Often times, hundreds of integrity digs will take place in certain areas of pipeline, raising questions about the quality of that section of line, said Emily Ferguson, an environmental consultant and founder of Line 9 Communities.

When you see integrity data on a map, you can see these clusters of where there might be issues,” Ferguson said. “I think that’s something that is obviously in the best interest of the pipeline companies not to have that publicly released.”

By James Wilt • Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 15:45
Caleb Behn Canada 150

The massive “Canada 150” celebrations of July 1 are finally over, leaving little in their wake but hangovers, a multi-million dollar price tag and mountains of trash.

But for some Indigenous peoples in Canada, the festivities remain a visceral reminder of their continued dispossession from ancestral lands and waters. That’s especially true for those on the frontlines of megaprojects — pipelines, hydro dams, oil and gas wells, liquefied natural gas terminals and mines — that infringe on Indigenous land rights.

DeSmog Canada caught up with three Indigenous people directly involved in local struggles to resist such projects.

By Carol Linnitt • Friday, June 30, 2017 - 11:57
Horgan Weaver NDP Green Agreement

Nearly two months have passed since the polls closed in B.C. and at last British Columbians know who will get to form government.

On Thursday, upon the conclusion of a no-confidence vote that ousted former Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader John Horgan has been offered the opportunity to lead a new B.C. government under a historic partnership between his party and the Greens.

While B.C. awaits the swearing in of a new premier, we thought we’d take the time to tally up some critical promises the NDP and their Green collaborators have made on the environment file.

By Emma Gilchrist • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 12:54
Site C dam construction | Garth Lenz

Almost exactly a year ago, B.C. Hydro touted “broad support” for its controversial Site C dam — a mega hydro dam on the Peace River that would flood 107 kilometres of river valley, forcing farmers and First Nations off their land.

Now, as besieged Premier Christy Clark puts all her spin doctoring powers to work to attempt to save the dam from being canned, new polling from Angus Reid shows that more British Columbians want to review or cancel the project than want to let the project go ahead.

Those numbers are pretty remarkable when you consider that Site C is already almost two years into construction and BC Hydro has put considerable resources into quieting critical media coverage of the project. 

By Carol Linnitt • Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 11:21
CCPA Trans Mountain pipeline tidewater access myth

One of Ottawa and Alberta’s main arguments in defence of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline — that Alberta oil sold to Asian markets will command a higher price — is a myth, according to a new report released Wednesday by scientist and energy resources expert David Hughes.

Contrary to the common claim, Hughes’ research, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute, found “a ‘tidewater premium’ does not exist.”

My research shows that Canada’s oil is not being unfairly discounted by the U.S.,” Hughes said.

Oil prices internationally and in North America are now nearly identical. That means Canadian crude producers are likely to receive lower prices overseas than in the U.S. because of the higher transportation costs involved in transporting bitumen by pipeline to B.C.’s coast and then exporting it by tanker.”

By Emma Gilchrist • Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 15:52
John Horgan Andrew Weaver NDP-Green Agreement

After three weeks of nail-biting, British Columbians finally have a clearer sense of what’s in store for the province as the NDP and Greens released their cooperation agreement today.

The 10-page agreement establishes the basis for the Greens to “provide confidence” in an NDP government. Translation: the agreement lays out what the NDP agreed to in return for the Greens guaranteeing to support NDP budgets and confidence motions.

And boy oh boy, is there ever a lot of gold in this document. Here are 10 of the biggest potential game changers on the energy and environment file.

By Kai Nagata • Monday, May 29, 2017 - 10:12
kinder morgan trans mountain pipeline on shaky ground

This article originally appeared on Dogwoodbc.ca. 

It’s a rare dose of honesty from a company with a history of bending the truth. Kinder Morgan filed a final prospectus last week with securities regulators, setting the stage for a last-ditch attempt to raise enough cash to build its Trans Mountain expansion project.

Now all the Texas pipeline barons can hope is that investors don’t read the fine print.

The company is essentially trying to crowdfund $1.75 billion through an initial public offering. Kinder Morgan executive Ian Anderson sounded confident in a press release announcing the IPO: “Our approvals are in hand and we are now ready to commence construction activities this fall,” he said.

But the approvals are not in hand, and a mandatory risk analysis accompanying the share offering makes clear how difficult it will be to start construction. Provincial politics, lawsuits, blockades by First Nations – any one of these could kill the Trans Mountain pipeline project, the company admits.

By Carol Linnitt • Friday, May 26, 2017 - 13:44
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Kinder Morgan Canada’s president Ian Anderson may have misled potential investors in a statement released Thursday that claimed “execution planning is complete, our approvals are in hand” for the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to Ian Stephen, resident of Chilliwack B.C. and campaign director at the Waterwealth Project.

We are now ready to commence construction activities this fall,” Anderson told the public this week during Kinder Morgan Canada’s $1.75 billion initial public offering — one of the largest offerings in Canada’s history — expect to close May 31.

But according to Stephen, Kinder Morgan is “misleading potential investors,” because the company has yet to receive National Energy Board approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline route through Chilliwack.

The company’s current plan routes the pipeline directly over the city’s aquifer, a source of drinking water for over 90,000 residents in Chilliwack and Yarrow.

The key thing for me, and for most people in Chilliwack, is the aquifer. It’s our sole source of drinking water for one of the fastest growing communities in B.C.,” Stephen told DeSmog Canada.

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