An oil tanker loading from the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby at the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

No deal hatched in Alberta to allow oil pipeline: B.C. environmentalists

Environmental groups vow to keep fighting Kinder Morgan oil export project, now pegged at $6.8 billion

B.C. environmental groups deny they’ve made any secret deal to dial down their opposition to the proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline as part of the Alberta NDP government’s accord with industry to cap oil sands emissions.

They were reacting to a Financial Post story reporting that a backroom compromise reached between industry, the Rachel Notley government and four environmental groups, including ForestEthics, would see activists back off on their opposition to new export pipelines.

“There’s no way we’re going to stop working to prevent projects like Kinder Morgan’s from being built,” ForestEthics campaign organizer Sven Biggs said Monday.

“Certainly we’ve worked with the government of Alberta to try to improve their climate plan. But we’ve never suggested that we would stop working to stop the transport of tar sands oil.”

ForestEthics also continues to lead a constitutional challenge of the National Energy Board’s revised review process for the Trans Mountain project.

ForestEthics Canada director Karen Mahon praised Alberta’s carbon reduction plan on Nov. 22 as one that makes that province a climate leader, instead of a laggard, by keeping more of the oil sands bitumen in the ground.

Notley has pushed for the Trans Mountain pipeline and gone so far as to suggest in recent months a different, less contentious terminal be used instead of the existing one on Burrard Inlet in Burnaby.

Chilliwack-based pipeline opponent Michael Hale, with the Pipe Up Network, said few B.C. residents would accept any trade-off that sacrifices local concerns – including the risk of a tanker spill on B.C. shores or a pipeline rupture on land – in order to limit carbon emissions in Alberta as a climate change goal.

“There is no solution that involves exporting bitumen,” Hale said. “The risk of oil spills locally is huge. In the Valley here that galvanizes a lot of people.”

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson recently said the project’s cost has climbed from a 2013 estimate of $5.4 billion to likely around $6.8 billion, but he insisted the new pipeline remains viable.

It would triple Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day and result in a seven-fold increase in oil tankers sailing through Vancouver harbour.

Critics say the writing is on the wall.

“Every month it’s delayed the costs go up,” Hale said. “And every month it’s delayed China comes on with more clean energy, there’s greater production of solar panels and it becomes more feasible to switch to clean energy and fuels.”

The new federal government promised a new approach to pipeline reviews but last Friday’s throne speech made only a vague reference to introducing new environmental assessment processes with no indication if they will apply to the Trans Mountain project.

The NEB review is currently slated to hear oral arguments from Trans Mountain and intervenors over the next two months, with a final recommendation going to the federal cabinet by May.

Just Posted

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

Public hearing planned for Campbell Heights development

Project to see the removal of more than 500 trees

City of White Rock tells residents to keep distance from pier project

Residents and tourists are asked to stay at least 100 metres away from barge

White Rock students deliver donation to low-income families

Seniors, kids and more to benefit from Peace Arch Elementary students’ efforts

Third person charged in death of Surrey teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Most Read