British Columbia throws wrench in Kinder Morgan pipeline plan

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This morning, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman announced a tough new approach toward Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

"We know with the federal government's approval of this project that the path forward will be challenging", Heyman said, "but we're committed to stepping up and fighting for B.C.'s interests".

The announcement adds to the potential hurdles for the Trans Mountain expansion and raises the potential for a dispute with the federal and Alberta governments, which both maintain B.C. has no right to stop the project. The NDP said without the certificates, the Trans Mountain expansion can not move forward on public land.

"Because at the end of the day, no matter what actions they take, they need to be first and foremost grounded in meritorious legal actions".

Heyman said the legal challenges to the pipeline's approval are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall.

"We are committed to working with the province and permitting authorities in our ongoing process of seeking and obtaining necessary permits and permissions", said Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson in the release.

"The message is that there's going to be no more projects in B.C.", he said.

British Columbia throws wrench in Kinder Morgan pipeline plan
British Columbia throws wrench in Kinder Morgan pipeline plan

The pipeline expansion, as envisioned by Houston-based Kinder Morgan, would triple daily capacity to 890,000 barrels of crude oil on an existing 714-mile project that carries crude from the Alberta oil sands to British Columbia's Pacific coast. "They will be in violation of their environmental assessment certificate, the one that exists today".

CKNW has reached out to Kinder Morgan for comment.

Hudema added that if the B.C. government is serious about using every tool in its toolbox to fight the pipeline, it will "fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as part of its stated commitment to respect Indigenous rights, including the rigth to free, prior, and informed consent". "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities, and individuals, and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with construction activities in September".

"It still remains to be seen what the British Columbia government can actually do to stop, or materially delay, the project and how the B.C. government's opposition will be reconciled with Ottawa's approval", said Robert Kwan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

Rich Coleman, interim leader of the BC Liberal Party, however, said the province stands to lose almost $20 billion in GDP should the NDP kill a project that has already met B.C.'s conditions.

The government also plans to review the ways in which resource projects are approved.

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