Just days after Kinder Morgan officials confirmed the accidental leak of 100 liters of crude oil from a flow meter at the Darfield facility of the Trans Mountain pipeline, Kinder Morgan announced they struck a deal with the Canadian government to extend the controversial pipeline. The Canadian government is paying the Texas-based company 4.5 billion Canadian dollars for the pipeline.
The accident was reported at 5 am on May 27th, just days before Kinder Morgan’s deadline to rescind plans for a $5.7 billion pipeline expansion if not provided with adequate investors and political approval.
Sunday’s spill at the Darfield facility was contained before any oil infiltration of water sources, but this is a large point of concern voiced by opposing environmental groups and First Nation activists who joined BC in their opposition. The nearly tripled volume of oil carried by the pipeline and the increase of ships needed to transport the crude oil at the Pacific will also heighten the threat to fish, orca whales, and other wildlife intrinsic to local people’s livelihood.
Despite protests that have surrounded the plans for project expansion, the Canadian government has encouraged the development of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would mirror the existing path from Alberta to British Colombia and would increase the capacity of the pipeline from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.
Kinder Morgan’s hesitation was brought about in part by plausible delays in construction following court opposition from British Colombia and the Squamish Nation, who argue that they were not formally consulted regarding the project which intersects indigenous land. Nevertheless, Canadian Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau promised the financial and public support of the Trans Mountain pipeline from the Canadian federal government.
While approval of the pipeline may be a setback for protestors, opposition to the pipeline is likely to continue.
“Investors should note that the opposition to this project is strong, deep and gets bigger by the day,” Greenpeace Canada’s Climate & Energy Campaigner Mike Hudema said. “British Columbians’ desire to protect clean water, safeguard the environment and stand behind indigenous communities cannot be ignored or swept under the rug.”
Last March, 10,000 individuals joined Indigenous leaders to oppose the development of the terminals at Burnaby, a Vancouver suburb. About 200 protestors were arrested for entering within five meters of the terminals.