Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

BC hires native rights lawyer on Kinder Morgan pipeline

BC hires native rights lawyer on Kinder Morgan pipeline

It was not immediately clear where and how the B.C. government's push back ultimately will effect Kinder Morgan's construction schedule for the $7.4 billion project, set to begin September 12.

As well, the Squamish First Nation has a court challenge related to inadequate consultation by Kinder Morgan on its project, which proposes to nearly triple the number of barrels of oil shipped per day from Edmonton to the shores of Burrard Inlet, increasing from 300,000 to 890,000.

"Until that has been completed, Kinder Morgan, with the exception of some private land and some clearing of right of way, can not put shovels in the ground", Heyman said, according to a transcript of the news conference.

The chief executive of Kinder Morgan's Canadian unit, Ian Anderson, said the company "takes seriously" the remarks from British Columbia's government and remains prepared to work with authorities to address the concerns.

Mr Horgan had promised throughout his campaign to fight the pipeline.

The project will twin an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. and has been approved by the federal government, the National Energy Board, and the former B.C. government. The province is the respondent in that case.

Not all First Nations in B.C. are opposed to the project.

"Before they can begin work, the certificate required them to complete environmental management plans". Canadian crude producers, whose landlocked product trades at a discount, say they need the expansion to access new markets and command better prices. "Until it is completed, they are not able to begin work, they will be in violation of their environmental assessment certificate".

Pipeline capacity would increase to 890,000 from 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

In Vancouver, a protest against the pipeline expansion last November saw 4,000 people march through the streets with the support of Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The company agreed to paying the provincial government $1 billion over 20 years - $25 million to $50 million per year, depending on the pipeline's annual revenue.

Heyman said the province is also reviewing a number of other measures they could take to try to stop the pipeline expansion going ahead.

"One, our commitment to First Nations peoples in British Columbia, both in specific litigation and the UN Declaration of Rights Of Indigenous Peoples".

Regardless, back in May, Trudeau reaffirmed that he is still backing the pipeline project despite any opposition from a new BC government. "We will use all available tools to protect our coastal waters and our province's future", the environment minister says. "We are, however, looking at every remaining option to defend BC's interests within the law that will be effective and that will withstand a constitutional challenge".

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