Another setback for Canadian pipelines

Kinder Morgan aims to expand existing crude oil pipeline system in British Columbia.

By Daniel J. Graeber

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The provincial government of British Columbia said it did not support efforts by pipeline company Kinder Morgan to expand a regional crude oil network.

Kinder Morgan petitioned the federal Canadian government to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline network to triple its capacity to around 890,000 barrels of oil per day. The provincial government in British Columbia said it wasn't confident the company had done enough to address spill potential from the system.


"Because of this, the province is unable to support the project at this time, based on the evidence submitted," it said in a statement.

Advocacy groups in British Columbia have expressed concern about the potential environmental threat from the expanded oil pipeline. Kinder said the existing corridor has been in service for 60 years with few incidents.

An estimated 25 barrels of oil spilled from the existing pipeline in June 2014.

The provincial decision comes as the Canadian energy sector works to expand market access beyond North America under the administration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen as more of a low-carbon advocate than his predecessor, Stephen Harper.


Speaking to reporters in Vancouver, the prime minister said last month he stands in opposition to the planned Northern Gateway oil pipeline, a pipeline planned by rival Enbridge that could run through a sensitive ecosystem in the region.

Last week, TransCanada sued the U.S. government over its decision to refuse a permit to build the cross-border Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta.

The provincial government laid out five conditions for the approval of Kinder Morgan's expansion, which said a comprehensive effort was needed to meet all the spill response requirements.

Provincial Environment Minister Mary Polak said in a conference call with reporters their decision was only one part of the process. The federal NEB is expected to weigh in on the project in May.

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