December 13, 2019 Read More →

Opponents push Canadian government to update cost estimates for Trans Mountain pipeline

Vancouver Sun:

Opponents of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion projects want the Trudeau government to provide an updated construction-cost estimate. The estimated cost has already risen significantly, to $9.3 billion from $5.4 billion.

The latest cost figure is from 2018, contained in documents filed by Houston, Texas-based Kinder Morgan with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The financial documents were filed for Kinder Morgan’s prospective sale of the expansion project and the existing Trans Mountain pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.

West Coast Environmental Law Association lawyer Eugene Kung said Tuesday that the federal government should provide an updated construction cost figure because the information is needed to have a fulsome discussion on the project and judge its viability. “Financial information is being hidden,” Kung said at a Vancouver news conference to highlight their demand.

The project — now expected to be completed by 2022 — has been delayed several times and continues to face court challenges from First Nations. Other First Nations support the project and are eyeing an ownership stake, which the Trudeau government has said is a possibility.

In a written response to Postmedia, federal finance department officials said the Trans Mountain Corp. will update the cost once it has secured additional regulatory permits that will result in a better understanding of scheduling. In its response, officials also asserted the project remains commercially viable. The Trudeau government approved the project a second time in the summer.

Canada purchased the Trans Mountain expansion project and the existing pipeline in the spring of 2018 after Kinder Morgan signaled it was going to pull the plug because of uncertainty and opposition to the project, in particular from the B.C. NDP government. [Gordon Hoekstra]

More: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion opponents demand updated project cost

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