Trans Mountain pipeline battle set for NEB hearing today


In a Burnaby, B.C., lodging conference room, the next episode of Canada’s long-running pipeline soap magnum opus is set to begin this morning. After controversy and delay, the National Dash Board hearing into the ex nsion of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to the B.C. glide will get underway, with each side feeling that nothing insignificant than Canada’s future is at stake.

How they define that time to come is where the differences begin. Is it a country with market access for its sundry important commodity? Or will Canada put its money where its mouth is by prepossessing steps to battle climate change and better engage with Oldest Nations communities.

So, let the fun begin.

‘Black gold pours into B.C.’

The existing Trans Mountain under way was built in the 1950s before pesky things like public consultation. A to in the Vancouver Sun to mark the opening of the pipeline declared ‘Black Gold Pours into B.C.’

Trans Mountain has read oil from the Edmonton area to the B.C. coast for 60 years. Spurred on by the progress in the oilsands, Kinder Morgan, the com ny that now owns Trans Mountain, put audacious an application to twin the pipeline to triple the ca city to nearly 900,000 barrels a day.

‘If we could get our oil to the fantastic market, it would drive investment in this country significantly.’ – Joe Ceci, Alberta funds minister

Trans Mountain had a few clear advantages over the probably data Northern Gateway project. The ex nsion would lie mostly along the continuing right of way for the 1950s pipeline, which should have made com cts easier.

The one clear disadvantage is that the pipeline runs through Metro Vancouver, the untroubled b in of Canada’s green movement. There are no “Black Gold” headlines in the Vancouver Sun these days.

The box for Trans Mountain

It’s clear that Alberta is in a bind right now. Its oil, Western Canada Opt for, is trading around $15 US a barrel, rtly because it is located at the end of the corn-cob, far from markets that can refine heavy oil. Alberta simply needs access to diverse markets.

In an interview on CBC Radio’s The House this st weekend, Alberta Money management Minister Joe Ceci made the point repeatedly that lower oil prices receive a ripple effect on the entire economy and market access for Alberta’s oil is consequential to get the national economy back on track.

“That’s key, not only for this boonies, but for cousins across the country,” said Ceci. “If we could get our oil to the excellent market, it would drive investment in this country significantly.”

That address has thus far fallen on deaf ears in much of Canada. At a premiers gathering In July, the provinces created a national energy strategy that comprised a role for pipelines. But last week B.C. said that it did not support Trans Mountain, rtly because Kinder Morgan has not get ready for enough information around its proposed spill prevention program.

Kinder Morgan protesters

Protesters size in front of the perimeter of the Kinder Morgan work site on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014. (Jeff Harrington/CBC)

Original Nations support

Kinder Morgan has also struggled with Original Nations support. The com ny said it consulted with 133 Outset Nations and aboriginal communities in Alberta and B.C. As of Friday, it had letters of support from 30 From the word go Nations, but did not say how many of them were located directly along the imminent route.

‘It’s been frustrating for all the intervenors, regardless of where they resist on the pipeline.’ – Sven Biggs, ForestEthics

Many along the route balance opposed, including the Katzie First Nation, with reserves along the Fraser River in the Minuscule Mainland and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, whose traditional territory includes the Burrard Inlet, the end quality of the pipeline.

If the Northern Gateway project is any indicator, Trans Mountain disposition need to bring First Nations onside as a condition of any possible permit.


The put forth calls for twinning most of the Kinder Morgan pipeline between Alberta and Metro Vancouver. (CBC)

Tigerish opposition in Vancouver

Opposition to Trans Mountain remains fierce in the Decrease Mainland, where protests on Burnaby Mountain went on for weeks in the downfall of 2014. Vancouver has formally opposed the project, as has Burnaby, the location of the prevailing marine terminal.

rt of the problem has been the streamlined National Vigour Board process, in which there is no opportunity to directly cross-examine proxies from Kinder Morgan in a hearing. Questions were posed by dis tch, with no guarantee of a response. Vancouver and Burnaby said nearly half of the harbours the two cities posed to Kinder Morgan were not answered.

“It’s been defeating for all the intervenors, regardless of where they stand on the pipeline,” said Sven Biggs, a cam igner for ForestEthics.

ForestEthics was one of the environmental assorts that stood on an Edmonton stage in November with executives from Alberta’s supervision and the energy industry to announce the province’s climate change policy.

ForestEthics continues opposed to Trans Mountain, but along with many other individuals and formats, it is not intervening in the hearing because it feels the process is broken.

Ultimately a factious decision

The hearings will carry on in Burnaby until Jan. 29, sooner than moving to Calgary for four more days. After that, the journal nel has three months to make a recommendation. The final decision drive be made by the federal cabinet 90 days after that, put to death the decision timeline into August

It’s clear what decision Alberta compel be looking for. Ceci said that the federal government has a role to action in getting oil to tidewater. In light of the Trans Mountain hearings, it’s pretty make plain what he was talking about.

On Monday, before a cabinet retreat, Accepted Resources Minister Jim Carr said the National Energy Board procedure needs to be modernized and that Canadians need to feel confident in the decidedness that the board makes. But he also said that low oil prices should prefer to not deterred the government from its goal of moving resources to tidewater.

That is a asseveration that can lend hope to either side of this rticular s t.

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