Canada to Seattle Environmentalists: We Stand Behind the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Canada to Seattle Environmentalists: We Stand Behind the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Kinder Morgan's deadline means the real question is whether the company will accept Alberta and Ottawa's financial deal and proceed, letting the courts eventually decide.

When the Alberta government released Budget 2018 last month, the province's path back to balance by 2023 relied on pipelines. Finally, CIBC downgraded shares of Kinder Morgan Canada from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and cut their price objective for the company from C$23.00 to C$22.00 in a report on Tuesday, April 10th. Opinion on that score is nearly evenly split in most provinces - including Alberta and Saskatchewan, the only two places where a slim majority is in favour. To the extent it moves oil that would otherwise be shipped by rail, there will be no increase in oil production and related emissions.

In many ways, this isn't even about the pipeline any more. (The new project would be bigger than Keystone XL project.) But Seattle environmentalists and indigenous activists also have a concern that is much more localized than the climate impacts of burning tar sands oil: the amount of heavy crude being transported throughout Puget Sound.

On April 8, the company announced it planned to stop all but "essential work" on the project, and gave the Canadian government until May 31 to give it the "clarity" it needs, or it would cancel the project.

Horgan said then that the province would also consult the public on additional environmental regulations around oil spill response and compensation for spill damage.

Critics, however, have a simple but very clear answer to all of this. "I certainly support protecting our environment 100 per cent and all the proper steps need to be taken in order to do that", she said. Polls indicate that most people do not want to impede Alberta's ability to secure maximum value from its resources.

Moe said he wants the legislation passed in the current session of the legislature so that it can work in tandem with Alberta's legislation. "These are rights and titleholders and they have to be acknowledged and have to be accepted".

According to the province, a total of 1,187 permits are needed from various government ministries and agencies.

Alberta, by the way, is ready to buy the project and take it off Kinder Morgan's hands.

Now it must address the other side of this issue. It's not surprising somebody thought of letting B.C. freeze in the dark.

The job is estimated to cost $7.4 billion (Canadian) and federal government officials say it's going to be favorable, developing jobs and tax revenue. Canada, unlike the United States, has signed onto the Paris climate agreement, which is supposed to decrease Canada's carbon footprint by 30 percent under 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Trudeau, speaking after an emergency summit with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia, said "we are actively pursuing legislative options that will assert and reinforce the government of Canada's jurisdiction in this matter".

In isolation, there are only positions for or against Kinder Morgan. "We are going to stand up for the interests of Canada in every way".

Marvin Shaffer and John Richards are professors at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy.