B.C. doesn’t support Trans Mountain expansion

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by JOC Digital Media

The Province of B.C. has formally decided to not endorse the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, as it does not currently meet the province's conditions.
B.C. doesn’t support Trans Mountain expansion

The province cited concerns over oil spill response and prevention as the major factor in its decision. In its final written submission to the National Energy Board (NEB) panel reviewing Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion project, the provincial government said it will continue to evaluate the project based on the company's ability to meet the five requirements, which B.C. has insisted must be in place for any new heavy-oil pipeline to receive provincial support.

In 2012, the provincial government established the five requirements in order for British Columbia to consider the construction and operation of heavy-oil pipelines in the province. The Province's position has not wavered since then. The requirements include passing the environmental review process, as well as developing world-leading oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for land and water.

The province also asked for Kinder Morgan to address Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights. The final condition was ensuring the province received a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy-oil project that reflect the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

"During the course of the NEB review, the company has not provided enough information around its proposed spill prevention and response for the province to determine if it would use a world leading spills regime," explained provincial officials in a release.

"Because of this, the province is unable to support the project at this time, based on the evidence submitted."

In preparing the final argument submission, the province's legal and technical experts analyzed the information contained in Trans Mountain's application and all of the submissions made to the review panel. In addition, during the review process, the province filed three sets of detailed information requests pertaining to spill response, prevention and recovery systems.

In a statement, Trans Mountain explained that it has been working closely with the province to discuss and demonstrate its commitment to meeting the conditions and believes progress has been made.

"Trans Mountain is confident that through continued discussions with the Province, along with the final steps of the NEB process that already include 150 draft conditions that the company must meet, it will be able to satisfy BC's 5 Conditions by the time the regulatory process is complete," reads the statement.

According to project officials, the conditions include several requirements that Trans Mountain alone cannot satisfy. The conditions related to world-leading marine oil spill response, recovery and prevention, addressing Aboriginal treaty rights and B.C. receiving its "fair share" are all conditions that require multiple parties to come to the table and work together.

The project, as outlined in report by the Conference Board of Canada earlier this month, is expected to generate $46.7 billion in government revenues and 802,000 person years of employment over more than 20 years. In December 2015, Trans Mountain filed its final argument with the National Energy Board, a summary of the many thousands of pages of evidence presented and the culmination of more than three years of environmental and technical studies, engineering and design work as well as engagement with communities, stakeholders, landowners and Aboriginal groups and becomes a part of the extensive regulatory process that has been underway since 2013.

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