Trans Mountain Pipeline Send Back for Environmental Approval

British Columbia’s court of appeal ruled on September 17th that Trans Mountain pipeline’s environmental approval by British Columbia must return to the provincial government for reconsideration as a result of changes in conditions that led to the approval certificate being granted.

Justice Mary Saunders, writing the unanimous decision, said, “I would not quash the certificate but would remit the matter to the ministers to permit them to reconsider the certificate’s conditions.”

According to the Justice, conditions have changed in the wake of the Federal Court of Canada’s decision in Tsleil-Waututh Nation v. Canada quashing the federal approval of the project by the National Energy Board and the federal cabinet.

The Canadian government re-approved the $7.4 billion pipeline in June after purchasing it from Kinder Morgan in early 2018 for $4.5 billion.

In January 2017, British Columbia’s Liberal government issued a 37-condition environmental assessment certificate for the project. The government did so relying on a so-called equivalency agreement with the NEB that could stand in for a provincial assessment in the interests of efficiency.

That approval had adopted conditions recommended in the NEB report on the project. It is the conditions that the court of appeal has remitted to the Environmental Assessment Office for review.


New Challenges to Trans Mountain Expansion Allowed

The long-delayed Trans Mountain pipeline has again ran into legal obstacles. On Wednesday Canada's Federal Court of Appeal agreed to hear six challenges to the Canadian government's earlier approval of an expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

The court said that the six challenges related to the government's duty to consult aboriginals, called First Nations and that they must proceed on strict, short deadlines.

"The applicants do acknowledge that the Government of Canada introduced some new initiatives to assist consultation and added some conditions on the project approval that was ultimately given," the court said in its decision. "But to them this is just window-dressing, box-ticking and nice-sounding words, not the hard work of taking on board their concerns, exploring possible solutions, and collaborating to get to a better place."

As some indigenous groups fear spills and the continued expansion of Alberta's oil sands, projects to expand or build new Canadian pipelines have become deeply contentious in recent years.

"The (project) has already undergone a lengthy, thorough and extensive regulatory review process, including extensive consultation with all stakeholders," Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Chief Executive Tim McMillan said in a statement.


Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction Work Restarts

A year after the project’s latest regulatory setback, construction on parts of the Trans Mountain pipeline is restarting, Trans Mountain Corp said on Wednesday. The pipeline was bought last year by the Canadian government to help ensure the completion of the expansion to 890,000 barrels of oil per day after years of delay and strong disapproval by environmental and some indigenous groups.

“We are very happy that people will be in the field, digging the ground and installing the pipe,” Canada’s Minister of Natural Resource Amarjeet Sohi said at a news conference in Edmonton.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, approximately 4,200 workers are expected to be employed along the pipeline corridor and the company has issued notices to some contractors to mobilize construction equipment and crews, Trans Mountain Chief Executive Ian Anderson said in a statement.

Work is restarting at the Burnaby storage terminal where the pipeline terminates, and the Westridge marine terminal, where crude is loaded onto tankers. It will also soon begin in communities along the pipeline’s right-of-way in Alberta between Edmonton and Edson, and in the Greater Edmonton area.

Given a reason that the company failed to adequately consult indigenous groups, last year a Canadian court overturned the federal government’s 2016 approval of the project. But after a new regulatory review that gave a huge relief to Canada’s oil industry, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government re-approved the pipeline in June.


Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Receives Approval from Canadian Government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the C$9.3 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that will link Alberta’s oil sands to a port near Vancouver, British Columbia.  

The pipeline was purchased by the government from Kinder Morgan a year ago to ensure its expansion. The pipeline project has set Canadian provinces against each other, opened rifts among its Indigenous communities and prompted major protests.

The project is a critical component of Mr. Trudeau’s longstanding position that Canada needs to maintain a strong energy industry to support its efforts to mitigate climate change.

The oil industry in Canada has increasingly turned to trains to ship its products from the oil sands, due to the pipeline bottlenecks. This method of shipment is both costly and potentially dangerous because of the risk of derailments. Due to the transportation issues, the oil industry in Alberta was forced to sell its product at a discount.


Trans Mountain Traces Gas-Like Substance to Private Home After Initial Leak Scare

Trans Mountain confirmed that a portion of its pipeline in Surrey, British Columbia was shut down on Sunday after crews received reports of a gas-like odor in the area, as well as a gas-like substance found in a ditch near the line.

British Columbia’s environment ministry confirmed the gas-like substance traced back to a private home just west of the Port Mann Bridge.

After the ministry was notified of the substance, a vacuum truck was on scene to clean up minor “sheens.” As precautionary measures, the pipeline was shut down.

It was difficult to tell if the substance came from a pipeline, a vehicle, or just dumped there despite looking like residual gasoline, Morris said.

In an email to News 1130, Trans Mountain confirmed crews and equipment were deployed after the complaint occurred.

News 1130

Federal Court Shuts Down Trans Mountain, Project Potentially Delayed for Years

A Canadian court on Thursday overturned approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, ruling that Ottawa failed to adequately consider aboriginal concerns.

The surprising decision is a huge blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts to balance environmental and economic issues.

The Canadian government agreed to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada for $3.46 billion, under the presumption that it would win the court battle and expand Trans Mountain despite fierce opposition.

The decision also hurts Canada’s oil producers who have seen prices sharply reduced for their crude because of bottlenecks due to the lack of pipeline expansion. Shares fell after the decision.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board (NEB) regulator wrongly narrowed its review of the project to exclude related tanker traffic. The federal government also did not adequately consult First Nations, as required by law.

 “It’s quite a slap to the government by the court on the grounds of reconciliation with First Nations,” said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at University of British Columbia. “They’ve committed billions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds doubling down on a project that the courts have just quashed.”

Canada’s Finance Minister said he would speak about the decision on Thursday afternoon. Canada has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

It is unclear how long a delay the project now faces. An appeal the higher court would drag it out at least another couple of years, Harrison said.

Kinder Morgan voted on Thursday to approve the pipeline’s sale to Ottawa who cannot back out of the deal according to RBC analyst Robert Kwan.


Trans Mountain to Begin Construction on Four Segments After NEB Approval

The National Energy Board says Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC can start construction on sections of its pipeline expansion in Alberta and British Columbia.

An NEB statement says that Trans Mountain met all applicable pre-construction condition requirements for segments one to four from Edmonton Terminal to its Darfield pump station near Kamloops, B.C.

96 percent of the detailed route for these particular segments have been approved by the board.

Subject to other government permits and regulations, the NEB has given Trans Mountain permission to begin construction and clear right of way.

While other active hearings are pending, work related to them will not be permitted until they are resolved.

The NEB added that 72 percent of the entire detailed route has been approved and hearings for the final segment are scheduled to begin in October.


Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion to Increase Costs by Almost $2 Billion

According to Kinder Morgan Canada documents, expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline would cost the federal government an additional $1.9 billion on top of the company’s original construction estimates. It would also add on another year of work before the project is complete.

The information was provided in a document filed on Tuesday with the United States Security and Exchange Commission discussing the plans to sell the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.

In order to triple capacity by adding a second pipeline parallel to the first, cost would climb to $7.4 billion. Financial documents also show a number of different construction cost scenarios with one option costing $9.3 billion. The documents also suggest that the project won’t be complete until December 2021.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has not talked about how much final costs would be after the deal is finalized.

Officials say that the numbers do not specifically reflect how much the final project will actually cost, however an independent economist suggested that Kinder Morgan would not evaluate costs that did not represent realistic figures when evaluating the fairness of the sale.

Morneau concluded that as soon as construction contracts were in place, the government would release official cost updates, something he expects to happen no later than next winter.



Kinder Morgan Clears Last Hurdle for Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion cleared its last regulatory hurdle as British Columbia approved the project on Wednesday under certain conditions.

The project, which received a green light by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in late November last year, would expand the existing oil pipeline in western Canada from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia by 609 miles and almost triple capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced that the agreed conditions met with Kinder Morgan have been put in place to maintain environmental protection, including funding for environmental protection projects. Other conditions include world-leading oil spill response and prevention, aboriginal participation in the project, and successful environmental reviews.

Both Clark and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are aiming to balance oil industry growth and environmental peace and are aware of the severe opposition that exists against the pipeline, which could bring several protests and court challenges as construction begins in September.

ABC News


Alberta Requires Pipeline Approval in Exchange for Support of New Canada Carbon Tax

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada will require a tax on carbon emissions as part of its plan to meet the goals set in the Paris climate change accord.

Provinces and territories will have the option to either put a direct tax on carbon emissions of at least C$10 a ton or join the cap-and-trade system.

Trudeau says the tax will help build a cleaner economy and protect the health of all Canadians.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she will not support the plan without progress on energy infrastructure, referring to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project that would transport crude oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast. Trudeau has until December to make a decision on the project.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall responded negatively to the tax proposal saying his province’s economy is already suffering from a downturn in commodity prices.

Federal legislators on Wednesday will vote on the Paris accord ratification.

ABC News

Vancouver Files for Judicial Review to Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

Waters and Skyline of North Vancouver, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The city of Vancouver has filed an application for judicial review of the National Energy Board’s recommended approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

The city posted a statement on its website saying that the review process for the project is “both invalid and unlawful,” claiming that the NEB failed to properly consult local communities along the pipeline and tanker route, disregarded key pieces of evidence that show potential for damage to local waters, and ignored the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

The city filed the suit at the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Friday with the intention to have the NEB’s recommended approval rescinded. The city has provided a link on its website for the public to share their opinion on the project to the Federal Government.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion is an approximately $5.4 billion project that would carry nearly triple the current daily barrel count of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to ports in the Vancouver area.


National Energy Board of Canada Approves Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

The National Energy Board of Canada recommended the approval of Kinder Morgan’s expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

The expansion support by Canada’s chief energy regulatory body means a better chance of approval by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet by the end of 2017.

The $5.4 billion pipeline expansion is expected to nearly triple the barrels of crude oil a day from 300,000 to 890,000, carrying oil from Alberta’s oil sands to ports in the Vancouver area.

Although hoped to start operations of the expansion next year, Kinder Morgan’s timeline for operation has been proposed for the end of 2019.

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