British Columbia’s provincial government has said it opposes a major expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, for now.
“During the course of the NEB [National Energy Board] 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,” reads a January 11 media release. “Because of this the Province is unable to support the project at this time, based on the evidence submitted.”
The project is a twinning of a Kinder Morgan pipeline that runs from the Alberta oil sands to a port in Burnaby. Upon completion, it would triple the amount of diluted bitumen transported to the Lower Mainland, increasing the number of oil tankers moving through Burrard Inlet from some 60 ships per year to more than 400.
The statement the provincial government released today does not represent an outright rejection of the pipeline’s proposed expansion.
“In 2012, the provincial government established five requirements in order for British Columbia to consider the construction and operation of heavy-oil pipelines in the province,” it reads. “The Province’s position has not wavered since then.”
Kinder Morgan still has an opportunity to meet those five requirements. If the province eventually decides the company has adequately done so, Kinder Morgan could still win the B.C. government’s blessing for the project.
The five requirements include a successful completion of an environmental review process, providing the province with a plan for a “world-leading marine oil spill response” as well as for “world-leading practices for land oil spill prevention”, that Kinder Morgan address aboriginal and treaty rights, that First Nations people benefit from the pipeline, and that B.C. receive a “fair share” of revenue from the project.
"We've been clear and consistent with our 5 conditions for any new or expanded heavy-oil pipelines in BC," B.C. Premier Christy Clark wrote on Twitter this morning. "More work needs to be done to meet BC's 5 Conditions, so we can’t support Kinder Morgan's proposal at this time."