“Clearly, the project will have economic benefits for British Columbia workers, families and communities”
British Columbia has issued Environmental Assessment Certificate for the BC portion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project, following the Canadian government’s green light in late Nov.
“Today we issued an EA Certificate for the project, understanding that all inter-provincial pipelines are under federal jurisdiction,” Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman said in a joint statement.
“We have looked at areas where we can improve the project by adding conditions that will build upon those already established by the federal government.”
The BC Environmental Assessment Office recommended 37 new conditions be attached, to address concerns raised by communities and Aboriginal groups during its consultation.
“We have agreed to all 37 conditions, ensuring the project meets the high standards we demand in British Columbia,” said Polak and Coleman.
“The conditions we have attached will make sure ongoing consultation with First Nations occurs and also provides further protection of wetlands, wildlife habitat and caribou and grizzly populations. They are all legally enforceable, and will help to minimize or avoid altogether potential issues within areas of provincial interest.”
Pipeline opponents were predictably outraged.
Dogwood Initiative accused the Clark Liberals of being bought off with party donations from the Alberta-based oil and gas industry, an unverified total of “at least” $718,918 by March 2016.
“My question to Premier Clark today is ‘how much did they pay you?’” said Sophie Harrison, the organization’s spokesperson. “The BC Liberals haven’t disclosed their corporate donations since the end of March 2016. How much oil money did it take to flip them on this issue?”
Polak and Coleman say the project’s economic benefits were an important consideration, but not at the expense of the environment.
“We believe environmental protection and economic development can occur together, and the conditions attached to the EA certificate reflect that,” the two ministers said.
Ian Anderson, Kinder Morgan Canada president, says BC has been “clear from the very beginning” that Trams Mountain had to meet Clark’s five conditions, which included a fair share of the economic benefits of the pipeline to accrue to British Columbia.
“We believe this represents a positive outcome for our company, customers and for British Columbians and all Canadians who will benefit from the construction and operation of an expanded pipeline,” said Anderson in a press release.
In a negotiated commitment, Trans Mountain Expansion has agreed to contribute a minimum of $25 million to a maximum of $50 million each year depending on shipments in excess of contracted volumes, over the 20-year life of the Project.
Proceeds will be dedicated to a newly formed B.C. Clean Communities Program to be accessed by communities for local projects that protect, sustain and restore B.C.’s natural and coastal environments.
Trans Mountain Expansion is expected to generate a total of more than 800,000 person years of employment over the life of the project, including an anticipated workforce of the equivalent of more than 15,000 jobs per year during construction each year between 2017 and 2019, according to Kinder Morgan.
Trans Mountain has also committed to a “British Columbians first” policy for hiring and contracting work within BC, giving qualified and competitive BC companies the first opportunity at the jobs building, operating and maintaining the pipeline system.
Kinder Morgan says Trans Mountain Expansion is delivering to British Columbians over 20 years:
- $5.7 billion to the Province of British Columbia in economic contributions from Project development, operations, higher netbacks and increased investment in BC’s oil and gas industry
- More than doubling local government taxes along the pipeline, including more than an additional $23.2 million each year to communities in B.C.
- Agreements with 51 Aboriginal communities (41 communities in B.C. worth more than $350 million)
The company says the next steps will include a final investment decision by the Kinder Morgan board of directors.
Trans Mountain is planning to begin construction in September 2017, with an in-service date for the twinned pipeline system expected in late 2019.