The Trans Mountain pipeline first began shipping oil from Edmonton to Burnaby, British Columbia in 1953. 1 In 2012, the American parent company of the pipeline, Kinder Morgan, announced it would try to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline and began public consultations. In 2013, Kinder Morgan applied to the National Energy Board to expand the pipeline; anti-pipeline activists began protesting in British Columbia soon after.
In January 2016, the newly-elected Liberal government announced pipeline projects like this one would now be assessed using new criteria, including the greenhouse gas emissions produced and appropriate consultation with First Nations. In late May of 2016, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, declaring the project in the national interest of Canada.
Christy Clark, the former Liberal premier of British Columbia, announced her government supported the project in early 2017. However, in June of that year, the opposition NDP and Green Party formed a coalition government and vowed to use “every tool available” to stop the project. In March 2018, the city of Burnaby, the port where the diluted bitumen transported through the pipeline exits, says it intends to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada.
In April 2018, Kinder Morgan Canada announced it would suspend all non-essential spending on the project until it gets clarity from the federal government that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project will proceed.
In May 2018, the federal Liberal government announced it will buy the pipeline, using taxpayer money, for $4.5 billion, with costs for the project expected to exceed that figure.
This is the same government that vetoed the approved Northern Gateway pipeline and killed the Energy East pipeline with last-minute rule changes and a regulatory standard that doesn’t apply to any other sector of the Canadian economy. The government’s decisions to impose an oil tanker ban, a carbon tax and new regulations that penalize Canadian oil exports have damaged investor confidence and forced companies to reconsider future projects.
Between 2014 and 2016, investment in the Canadian energy industry has dropped by more than 50 per cent. 2 The red tape and delays in major energy projects under this government will continue to drive energy investment out of Canada at historic levels.