Canadian government to buy troubled Trans Mountain pipeline

One man said he thought the project would be profitable for Canada.

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May says the Liberal government's announcement to spend $4.5 billion to purchase Trans Mountain and Kinder Morgan Canada assets will go down as a historic blunder.

Trudeau spoke with Horgan "to confirm that the Government of Canada has reached a commercial agreement with Kinder Morgan in order to secure the timely completion of the... project", the statement said.

"Today, we've taken action to create & protect jobs in Alberta and BC, and restart construction on the TMX pipeline expansion, a vital project in the national interest", Trudeau said in a tweet.

On Sunday, the provincial Ministry of Environment said a flow meter leaked about 100 litres of crude oil into the ground at the Darfield Pump Station.

"Honestly not that much has changed", says Ben West, a long-time campaigner against pipelines in British Columbia, "other than the federal government is now wasting billions of taxpayers' dollars".

Amid the feud, the pipeline has become a barometer for foreign investments in Canada, with some warning of a spillover into other sectors of the economy.

Kinder Morgan Canada President Steve Kean said the company's "Canadian employees and contractors... will now resume work on this important Canadian project".

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Canada loses $15 billion every year on the sale of oil because the US remains its only export customer, resulting in a lower price, Trudeau argues. With plans to renew construction activity this summer, the protest movement around this pipeline promises to be heated.

The government is taking control of both the 715-mile pipeline and its expansion that is meant to increase capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who's been locked in an escalating battle with Horgan over his opposition and has passed a bill threatening to cut off oil and gas shipments to British Columbia, struck a triumphant tone at a press conference in Edmonton. The decision was seen as a possible way to stop building the pipeline, even if it was approved on paper. Indigenous groups said their concerns are being ignored.

"Canada stands to sacrifice its worldwide reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people - all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers". But the provincial government - elected previous year on a pledge to block the project - filed a legal case seeking jurisdiction to impose additional marine protection measures, such as capping future bitumen shipments, that would effectively derail the project.

If Canada takes on the project, Export Development Canada would finance it through a newly established Crown corporation - an approach officials say would help to defray B.C.'s threats of delay.

"Two out of five proposed new tar sands pipelines have now been cancelled in the face of indigenous and environmental legal challenges, widespread public opposition and changing economics", Hudema said.

Duane Bratt said it's too soon to say whether Trans Mountain will give Notley a bump in the polls, but no deal by Thursday would clearly have been a killer.

"It's not the intention of the government of Canada to be a long-term owner of the project", Morneau said, adding that pension funds and indigenous groups have already expressed an interest in buying stakes in the project. Any money put toward construction would be converted into an equity stake in the federal project, she said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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