Canada: Kinder Morgan suspends non-essential spending on Trans Mountain Expansion Project amid opposition by indigenous & environmental activists

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Article
8 April 2018

After relentless protests, Kinder Morgan slams brakes on spending for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Author: Mike De Souza & Carl Meyer, National Observer

The Texas multinational energy company announced on Sunday that it was suspending all non-essential spending on its Trans Mountain expansion project, threatening to cancel it if it fails to reach an agreement with B.C. and other stakeholders over how to proceed. The company says it has already spent $1.1 billion, since 2013, to advance the project that would triple the capacity of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline... But it said it doesn't want to spend any more without knowing if the project... can be completed... The remarks came one day after a protest by Indigenous leaders and environmental activists drove the company to suspend activities for the day. Close to 200 people have been arrested at the site of a Kinder Morgan terminal in the metro Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, B.C., in an attempt to stop construction activity from proceeding. The statement noted that the company had support from the federal government and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, but that it was facing "active opposition" from the government of British Columbia.

... [Federal] Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr... stated, There’s only one Government of Canada, and the Canadian government reminds Canadians again that this pipeline was approved in Canada’s interests, because of the jobs that it creates, because of the better price we’ll get for our resources, because of the expansion of our export markets. Ninety-nine per cent of our exports in oil and gas go to one country, the United States. This pipeline will open up the Asian market.”

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Article
8 April 2018

Commentary: Despite terrible timing, Kinder Morgan’s message makes sense

Author: Jeffrey Jones, The Globe & Mail

[Kinder Morgan's] decision... to put a deadline on legal wrangling so it can choose whether to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion does the country a big favour. Episodes of fighting over this plan to ship oil sands-derived crude through British Columbia for export may finally come to an end, one way or another. With that will come a national realization that projects spanning provinces with different economic, environmental and political priorities can, or can’t, ever be considered... In the name of sensitivity, Kinder Morgan should have postponed its decision to go public with its announcement that it is suspending nonessential spending on Trans Mountain. Even an important economic issue can be put on hold while the country mourns the loss of so many young men who were killed on a Saskatchewan highway... Ottawa approved the $7.4-billion oil export project a year and a half ago, and there is still no consensus on its fate, given protests in the courts by British Columbia and in the streets by environmental activists and some First Nations folks... B.C. Premier John Horgan, a fellow New Democrat, said his government will not back down from its legal battles against the pipeline, despite its lack of success in its previous actions. He rejected the notion that the province is triggering a constitutional crisis... A war over the legal jurisdiction of various levels of government would surely bring about such a crisis, and Ottawa needs to offer specifics on how it might solve it, while allowing the project to proceed in a time frame that keeps it economically viable. 

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Article
8 April 2018

Kinder Morgan Canada Limited suspends non-essential spending on Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Author: Kinder Morgan Canada Limited

Kinder Morgan Canada Limited... announced that it is suspending all non-essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.  KML also announced that under current circumstances, specifically including the continued actions in opposition to the Project by the Province of British Columbia, it will not commit additional shareholder resources to the Project.  However, KML will consult with various stakeholders in an effort to reach agreements by May 31st that may allow the Project to proceed... [According to KML Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Kean]... "While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments... The uncertainty as to whether we will be able to finish what we start leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control... We appreciate the support shown by the Federal Government and the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and are grateful for the strong endorsements among the majority of communities along the route and 43 Indigenous communities, as well as customers, contractors and unions. The fact remains that a substantial portion of the Project must be constructed through British Columbia, and since the change in government in June 2017, that government has been clear and public in its intention to use 'every tool in the toolbox' to stop the Project.  The uncertainty created by BC has not been resolved but instead has escalated into an inter-governmental dispute."... [I]n an unprecedented negotiated commitment, Trans Mountain agreed to provide financial benefits from the Project, if completed, to British Columbia for a newly-formed BC Clean Communities Program to be accessed by communities for local projects that protect, sustain and restore BC's natural and coastal environments.

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Article
8 April 2018

Kinder Morgan halts most work on disputed Canada pipeline expansion

Author: David Ljunggren, Reuters

Kinder Morgan Canada on Sunday suspended most work on a C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) oil pipeline expansion that has become the focus of protests... Company Chairman Steve Kean said he would scrap plans to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which takes crude from Alberta’s oil sands to a facility in the Pacific province of British Columbia, unless the various legal challenges could be resolved by May 31... “We will be judicious in our use of shareholder funds. In keeping with that commitment, we have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” [Company Chairman Steve] Kean said in a statement. The firm is currently carrying out preliminary work and has not started construction.

... British Columbia’s government proposed environmental rules this year that were seen as a direct attack on the project... “British Columbians expect their government to stand up for their interests and our coast, and to do everything we can to protect our land and waters, our coastal communities and our local economies,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement. Mike Hudema, climate campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, said: “The writing is on the wall, and even Kinder Morgan can read it. Investors should note that the opposition to this project is strong, deep and gets bigger by the day.”

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Article
16 March 2018

USA: Indigenous communities & environmental activists make pipeline CEOs rethink their strategy

Author: Tom DiChristopher, CNBC (UK)

"Pipeline CEOs vow to fight back against environmental activism and sabotage", 09 Mar 2018

Pipeline companies are bracing for an ongoing battle with environmental activists...executives from some of the biggest energy infrastructure companies in Canada and the USA say their industry had been surprised by the escalation and sophistication of the so-called "keep it in the ground" activists. The battle over pipelines reached a fever pitch in 2016 and 2017 during tense standoffs between law enforcement and activists who camped out in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to prevent the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. "The effort is much more intense...there's more opposition, it's more organized and...tactics have evolved," said Steven Kean...CEO of Kinder Morgan. Pipeline opponents have also grown more sophisticated in the courts, hiring experienced counsel to deploy novel legal defenses, said Russell Girling...CEO of TransCanada. The executive...said the industry was too slow to respond to social media campaigns that he said perpetuated lies about...companies and their projects. In the future...companies need to be proactive and devote resources to counteracting those campaigns. Sharon Wilson...organizer for Earthworks, said grassroots groups are seeking to protect their homes from...leaks and explosions.

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