Cost of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in B.C. soars

Credit to Author: Tiffany Crawford| Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 17:21:35 +0000

Trans Mountain Corp. says the cost of its pipeline expansion project has soared to $12.6 billion from $7.4 billion.

Company president Ian Anderson said, in a conference call Friday, that construction will be underway in B.C. before the end of the year, with an average of 2,200 workers from B.C. He anticipates it will take three years to complete.

Anderson said he was very confident that the project can be built with the $12.6 billion, and said he was optimistic about what is ahead in 2020.

The amount includes money spent by the previous owner Kinder Morgan before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought the project in 2018 for $4.5 billion.

Trans Mountain’s update Friday follows a win for the company this week in court. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed a court challenge by four First Nations, who argued they had not been adequately consulted. The court noted Canada invited 129 Indigenous groups to participate in consultations and, in the end, more than 120 either support the project or do not oppose it. As well, 43 First Nations have signed benefits agreements with Trans Mountain.

The legal process is not yet over yet though, as the Tsleil-Waututh have sought leave to appeal a September ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada and the four groups also have 60 days to file leave to appeal the latest decision.

Meantime, opponents of the pipeline expansion say they will do whatever it takes to stop the project.

Will George, of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, told The Canadian Press that activists are preparing for a prolonged battle on the land and water that they hope will remain non-violent but that could lead to clashes with police. Opponents of the pipeline do not want it built because of the damage an oil spill could do to the B.C. coast, and because of concerns about the oil industry’s contribution to the climate crisis.

-With files from The Canadian Press