April 13, 2018 Read More →

B.C. Pipeline Opposition Roils Canadian Politics


British Columbia Premier John Horgan, who has vowed to use every possible means to thwart a Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline expansion, was told by legal advisers last year before taking power that blocking the project would be against the law.

That hasn’t stopped the 58-year-old former pulp mill worker from digging in his heels to stop the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) Trans Mountain expansion project, sparking a national uproar and drawing sharp rebukes from his counterparts in oil-rich Alberta and the federal government.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan threatened over the weekend to walk away from the project that was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016. That prospect has catapulted the contentious expansion into a symbol of fragile national unity as critics call B.C.’s obstruction of a federally sanctioned project an assault on Canada’s political system and the rule of law.

“Failure is not an option,” Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in Toronto Thursday, saying the federal government is in talks with Kinder Morgan about using the tools at its disposal to ensure the project is built.

“The interests of Texas boardrooms are not the interests of British Columbians,” Horgan said after Kinder Morgan announced its decision Sunday to stop all non-essential spending on the project.

The Trans Mountain expansion would move an additional 590,000 barrels a day of crude from Alberta’s oil sands to a terminal near Vancouver. The project would allow Canada to export crude to new markets in Asia and reduce its over-reliance on the U.S. The looming pipeline bottleneck has contributed to a discount in Canadian crude prices relative to U.S. benchmarks.

Kinder Morgan plans to walk away unless obstacles to the project can by resolved by May 31. In announcing the ultimatum on Sunday, it pointed the finger at Horgan.

More: In Canada’s Wild West, Pipeline Politics Pay No Heed to the Law

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