Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion appears to be “in limbo” as the new Canadian government’s transition plans for existing pipeline proposals points toward new short-term regulatory requirements for projects already under review, Bloomberg reported Friday.
“The government has committed to transition plans for important natural resource projects while we undertake longer-term modernization on the crucial regulatory agencies on which a considerable portion of our economy and our environment depends,” wrote Micheline Joanisse, spokesperson for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, in a statement to Bloomberg.
Those plans “would in effect tack on additional regulatory requirements that will allow proposed projects already under review in Canada, including Trans Mountain and TransCanada Corporation’s Energy East, to meet an unannounced higher standard favoured by Trudeau without restarting the process entirely,” Wingrove writes.
“The regulatory overhaul leaves timelines for the $5.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion in limbo.”
Kinder Morgan spokesperson Ali Hounsell said the project before Canada’s National Energy Board has already “gone through a thorough and rigorous process,” adding that “we’ll have to see specifically what is announced for a transition plan before we can assess what the impact is to the project.”
But the project has been a flashpoint in British Columbia for years, with 40-year energy executive Marc Eliesen declaring the process “fradulent,” a North Vancouver First Nation filing suit against the NEB, Burnaby Mayor Dennis Corrigan staking his political career on the fight, 53 protesters arrested on Burnaby Mountain, with one of them calling out the “bottomless contempt” in the process.
During last year’s federal election, then-candidate Justin Trudeau said the approval process for the Trans Mountain project “needs to be redone”. In a follow-up letter to the Dogwood Initiative, Liberal Party of Canada President Anna Gainey said the party “cannot support the pipeline in its current form.”
Now, “the dominant feeling is just confusion,” Dogwood spokespeson Kai Nagata told Bloomberg. “People are asking me: Why are we still going through the hearing as scheduled? Didn’t Trudeau say they were over?”