As Big Oil’s new poster boy, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, scrabbles around for investors for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, extra finance may not be enough to save the controversial pipeline.
Reuters reported yesterday that, according to Kinder Morgan, “recent events confirm an investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion may be ‘untenable’ and said Ottawa’s pledge of financial support does not resolve political risk related to British Columbia’s opposition.”
Kinder Morgan’s Chief Executive, Steven Kean, said yesterday: “it’s become clear this particular investment may be untenable for a private party to undertake. The events of the last 10 days have confirmed those views”.
Now this may be political manoeuvring by Kinder Morgan to increase pressure on Trudeau to pile in Government cash or strong-arm the British Columbian Government to buckle and allow the pipeline, that would triple the export of dirty tar sands from the coast to Alberta, to be completed.
But it looks like the bottom line for Trudeau is that he can amass as much cash as he wants for investors stupid or naive enough to invest in something that could quickly become a stranded asset, but if BC stands firm then the pipeline expansion may never be built.
Indeed, in a telling sign, Steven Kean had to “dodge” a question about whether financial support from the Federal Government would ensure that the pipeline was built. “Most of the investment is in British Columbia, where the government is in opposition to the project … That is an issue that, in our view, needs to be resolved,” he said.
So the more the BC Government files law-suits, the longer the public protests against the pipeline continue, the reality is the less likely that the pipeline will ever be built. And the BC government is pledging to keep the heat on by saying it will file a legal challenge by the end of the month to determine whether it has the legal jurisdiction to stop’s Kinder Morgan modern-day fossil fuel folly.
BC Premier, John Horgan said about the legal challenge “If we’re going to be transporting potentially hazardous materials through British Columbia, I think British Columbians want to have the ability to defend themselves. Our expectation is the reference question will clarify jurisdiction. We believe we have jurisdiction to protect the interest of British Columbians. Our neighbouring province disagrees with that. Our federal government disagrees with that.”
To this end, the BC Attorney General will send a question about the province’s powers to limit oil from the pipeline to the B.C. Court of Appeal before the end of the month.
Yesterday, the Attorney General, David Eby added: “When we file in court, we also have to give notice to the federal government. They will have an opportunity to file an appearance, as will other provinces, and we expect that they will be interested in doing that. Once that happens the court will be setting dates for hearings.”
Eby continued: “It’s up to the court when the matter is heard and how long it takes for them to determine the question. I think everyone understands … about having an answer to this as soon as possible.”
But that date may be long after the May 31 deadline set by Kinder Morgan to cancel the pipeline unless it receives assurances against ongoing delays, protests and BC’s political opposition.