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Canada Feds to avoid selling Trans Mountain pipeline so long as risks remain

00:25  18 january  2020
00:25  18 january  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

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The Trans Mountain Pipeline System , or simply the Trans Mountain Pipeline , is a pipeline that carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, Canada. " Trans Mountain pipeline system " and " Trans Mountain Expansion Project", TMX, are since August 31, 2018

Feds reportedly leaning toward buying Trans Mountain pipeline . Video sign out. Canada is likely to buy Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.’s Trans Canada first offered earlier this month to indemnify the expansion project but is now likely to buy it, along with the existing pipeline that’s been in operation

a large crane on the back of a truck: Pipeline pipes are seen at a Trans Mountain facility near Hope, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will likely be delayed due to detailed route hearings, outstanding provincial permits and Indigenous court challenges, says a report from environmental group Stand.earth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Pipeline pipes are seen at a Trans Mountain facility near Hope, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will likely be delayed due to detailed route hearings, outstanding provincial permits and Indigenous court challenges, says a report from environmental group Stand.earth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The federal government is studying the best options for Indigenous communities to reap economic benefits from the Trans Mountain pipeline but Ottawa is not planning to sell the project while legal and political risks remain.

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Morneau says the federal government does not plan to be a long -term owner and is in negotiations with interested investors, including Indigenous “ Trans Mountain is the third major pipeline project to stall in two years because pipelines spell disaster. Kinder Morgan is a bad investment that no one

Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, tells BNN Bloomberg the decision by Ottawa to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline will Feds having to save Trans Mountain shows how difficult it is to get resource projects built: Risley. BNN Bloomberg speaks with John Risley

The Supreme Court of Canada eliminated one of those risks Thursday when it denied British Columbia the right to regulate the contents of the pipeline. At least two other significant legal challenges continue to hang over the project, making its future far from certain.

READ MORE: Supreme Court rejects B.C. appeal of Trans Mountain pipeline case

They both question the validity of the cabinet endorsement given to the expansion project last June, one citing environmental concerns and the other mistakes made during consultations with Indigenous communities. If either challenge succeeds in overturning cabinet's approval, it would stop construction for a second time and put the entire project on extremely shaky ground.

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  Canada top court rejects bid by British Columbia to regulate oil pipeline Canada top court rejects bid by British Columbia to regulate oil pipelineBritish Columbia wanted the right to require permits for companies shipping oil and other hazardous substances through the Trans Mountain pipeline, which transports oil from neighboring Alberta. Unusually, the top court delivered its decision immediately after hearing arguments.

The federal government is taking on the maintenance and construction of a nationally-vital project in order to eventually turn all of this infrastructure What kind of risks are we talking about? Assuming no other companies step in to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans - Mountain assets by the end of the summer

The federal government is willing and prepared to financially back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, whether or not Kinder Morgan is the company that ends up building it.

The expansion involves building a second pipeline roughly parallel to the existing one that runs between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. The original pipeline will carry refined oil products and light crude. The expansion is meant to carry only diluted bitumen, a heavy crude oil produced in Alberta's oilsands, for export.

Early stages of construction began after the expansion was first approved in 2016, but all of that ground to a halt in August 2018, when the Federal Court of Appeal tore up cabinet's approval. The court ruled Ottawa hadn't properly consulted Indigenous communities or adequately considered the impacts the project would have on marine life off the B.C. Coast.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain, LNG pipeline among projects UN racism committee urges to be stopped

After another round of Indigenous consultations and a second look at marine impacts, cabinet approved the expansion again last June, with construction resuming later that summer. The first lengths of pipe were put into the ground before Christmas, with plans for more pipe and work on several terminals and pumping stations to be underway over the next six months.

B.C. NDP out of tools to stop Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

  B.C. NDP out of tools to stop Trans Mountain pipeline expansion During the 2017 election, NDP Leader John Horgan pledged his government would “use every tool in the tool box” to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. On Thursday, the B.C. premier was left defeated and disappointed with no more tools. The Supreme Court of Canada swiftly shut down B.C.’s fight to regulate what can flow through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta. The country’s top court unanimously agreed with a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling last May which said the province couldn’t impose restrictions on the pipeline’s contents.

Feds having to save Trans Mountain shows how difficult it is to get resource projects built: Risley. “I believe we have an obligation to ensure that we are doing everything we can to avoid the catastrophic consequences Horgan said Ottawa's decision to buy the pipeline does not reduce the risk to B.C.'s

The Canadian pipeline industry welcomed news the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is more likely to be built, but expressed deep concern over Ottawa's WATCH: While many Albertans are happy the Trans Mountain pipeline project appears to be moving forward, others aren't thrilled taxpayers are

The federal government is now the sole owner and operator of the pipeline, through the Trans Mountain Corporation, a Crown agency. That purchase came after Kinder Morgan Canada got cold feet about proceeding in the midst of multiple court challenges, including B.C.'s attempt to keep heavy oil out of the pipe. The Supreme Court's decision Thursday ended the case, reaffirming the pipelines running between provinces are entirely within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

READ MORE: B.C. government, environmentalists 'disappointed' over Trans Mountain court decision

Pierre-Olivier Herbert, director of communications for Finance Minister Bill Morneau, said Friday Ottawa will remain the sole owner of the pipeline as long as any risk remains to construction of the expansion.

"When the political risks made it too difficult for the private sector to move forward, our government acquired the Trans Mountain expansion project and related assets,'' Herbert said.

"We have been clear however that it is not our intention to be long-term owners of the project.''

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Feds likely to hold on to pipeline past 2019 election, says Morneau. Indigenous groups in Canada are preparing bids to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from the federal government, but Finance minister says it's 'not time yet' for talks on selling Trans Mountain as Indigenous groups prepare bid.

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned Ottawa’s approval of the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The court also concludes that the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before giving the project the green light.

There are at least three Indigenous organizations vying to buy the pipeline, or at least a majority stake in it, but the government is not officially accepting offers at this point. There are 129 Indigenous communities potentially impacted by the pipeline, and not all of them are part of the three well-organized groups. Some of them are working to stop the pipeline altogether.

Last summer officials at the Department of Finance held an ``initial engagement'' with nearly six dozen Indigenous communities situated along or near the pipeline's 1,150-kilometre route. It is now working to refine the potential models for Indigenous participation raised in those consultations. That could mean securing employment benefits, revenue sharing, or an equity stake in the project.

"It is important that Indigenous communities have an opportunity for meaningful economic participation while we hold to our commitment of investing in a way that benefits all Canadians, and that operates the project on a commercial basis,'' Herbert said.

All of that could be for naught if the Federal Court of Appeal agrees with eight First Nations that the federal government did not fulfil its duty to consult them. Most of them were part of the first successful challenge that halted construction in 2018 and argued in a hearing in December that the second round of consultations was a smoke screen created by a federal government that had every intention of approving the project again.

The Federal Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment in that case.

It refused to hear a challenge of the cabinet approval from Indigenous communities and two environment groups who alleged the government was violating the Species at Risk Act because the pipeline would harm the highly endangered southern resident killer whales.

The environment groups and some of the First Nations are now appealing to the Supreme Court to hear the case.

COMMENTARY: B.C’s loss at the Supreme Court is a win for Canada .
The Supreme Court's decision on the TMX pipeline project is a reminder that Canada is a federation and that a national interest can still triumph, Rob Breakenridge says.After all, the B.C. Court of Appeal was unanimous and unequivocal in rejecting those same arguments. It would be highly unusual for such a resounding verdict to be viewed differently by the Supreme Court of Canada, especially given the rather straightforward constitutional principles at play here.

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