Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May speaking at Deep Cove Elementary School in North Saanich recently. (Steven Heywood/News Staff)

Elizabeth May: Pipeline will cost taxpayers billions more

Federal Green Party Leader says pipeline purchase is another broken Liberal promise

Questions over the viability of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion are the same today as they were yesterday — whether it’s a private company or a new Crown corporation running it, says federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

RELATED: Liberal government to buy Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5B.

Speaking to Black Press from Ottawa, May called into question the deal announced this morning for the federal government to buy the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and associated infrastructure from Kinder Morgan this summer for $4.5 billion, unless another industry buyer steps up. May agreed that the proposed purchase would nationalize the existing pipeline and possibly cost taxpayers billions more if Ottawa moves to pay for the building of the twin line already started by Kinder Morgan.

The deal was announced days before Kinder Morgan’s May 31 deadline on whether they would proceed with the project and May said the company played their hand very well.

“They kidnapped their own project,” she said, “held it for ransom and said by the end of the month they’d shoot the hostage.”

May added Kinder Morgan bought the existing pipeline from Trans Mountain in 2007 for approximately $550 million.

“They’ve really played this like pros.”

She added the expenses are not yet over. Setting up a new Crown corporation to run the pipeline and oversee the twinning work will cost taxpayers, May explained.

“That will cost a lot of money to create in the first place, and we could see some Kinder Morgan management sticking around to be part of that.”

May added she’s not sure if tolls paid on a federal-owned pipeline by oil companies will ever make the concept economically viable for the government.

Asked if nationalizing the pipeline gives Ottawa more power over the provinces’ abilities to block it, May said it already came under federal jurisdiction. She added that the current court cases are looking into whether the standards of procedural fairness were met in the project’s assessment and subsequent approval by Ottawa.

May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, added with this purchase — and potentially more spending to come, the federal government has spent more on fossil fuels than on climate action, and called that another broken promise by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

May, who was recently fined $1,500 for her actions protesting the pipeline expansion project on Burnaby Mountain in March, said the protests and the court actions against it, will continue. The questions those court actions seek to answer — from First Nations title and consultation issues, to B.C.’s own case on the environmental review process and ability to protect its coast — are still lingering over the project, May added.

It’s a project, she added, which has not yet met all 150 conditions set out by the National Energy Board (NEB) that it needs to complete the pipeline expansion work.

“Unless another buyer is found, it’s coming to Canada,” May said. “And (the expansion project) is another $7 billion of taxpayers’ money to pay for it.”



editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

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