Kennedy Stewart is the federal NDP's science and technology critic and MP for Burnaby-Douglas.

NDP critic suggests price to accept oil pipeline

$2.50 per barrel offer might sway communities, Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart says

A federal NDP MP predicts Kinder Morgan will have to offer B.C. and affected communities hundreds of millions of dollars a year if it wants its Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning to be seriously considered.

Kennedy Stewart, the federal NDP’s science and technology critic, said he expects the company to make a low-ball offer to satisfy the B.C. government’s demand for a share of benefits to compensate for the risk.

The Burnaby-Douglas MP estimates Kinder Morgan stands to earn $5 per barrel of oil it transports, so company profits on the 890,000-barrel-per-day dual pipelines could top $1.5 billion a year.

An offer to B.C. of a few cents per barrel shipped for a provincial benefits fund supporting first nations, affected communities and cleanup response measures would be far too low, Stewart said.

But he said a much more generous figure would have to be considered.

“If Kinder Morgan said $2.50 a barrel – half of the revenue would go to the province – you would take that back to the community and talk to the community about it,” Stewart said.

It’s one of the first suggestions from the ranks of pipeline opponents that a sufficiently attractive offer could trump environmental worries.

“I’m against this project. But I think you always have to keep your mind open when you’re looking at economics and then go back to your community with particular offers.”

Stewart said he didn’t pick the $2.50 per barrel figure – he says it arose through conversations with his constituents, who are seeking a series of commitments from Kinder Morgan, including assurances that no homes be expropriated, that temporary foreign workers won’t build the pipeline and that no construction will begin without local referenda.

Stewart noted he’s not in any position to negotiate, adding re-elected Premier Christy Clark will have to decide what price is fair.

“This is where this conversation is heading – how much does Kinder Morgan have to pay to put this pipeline through communities.”

Ben West, a ForestEthics campaigner opposed to transport of bitumen from the Alberta oil sands, said he was surprised by Stewart’s comments.

“There is no amount of money that would make this a good idea,” West said.

He said the environmental risk of a spill outweights any amount of financial compensation.

“The impact on our coast is too great and the potential impact on our economy if there was a spill is too great.”

West called the notion a “non-starter” because he doubts Kinder Morgan would ever offer anywhere near $2.50 a barrel.

Asked about the company’s plans to ensure Trans Mountain’s expansion benefits B.C., senior project director Greg Toth called B.C.’s demand for a fair share a “government-to-government” question.

He said local and regional benefits will come from the jobs in building and operating the new pipeline.

“We are looking at a community investment program at a local level,” Toth added. “What are the things we can do as part of the project to offset or mitigate the potential impacts of constructing the pipeline.”

Company officials wouldn’t comment on Stewart’s $2.50 suggestion, but reiterated president Ian Anderson’s statement last year that they look forward to discussing economic benefits for B.C. and are confident a collaborative approach will lead to an acceptable solution.

The TransMountain pipeline expansion was a major issue in the B.C. election when B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix came out against a major jump in oil tanker traffic through Metro Vancouver, ahead of any formal application by the company.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: B.C. Day weekend wildfire near Harrison ‘out of control’

Blaze grew from 1.5 hectares to 10 hectares overnight

Local B.C. Transit busses ramp up COVID-19 protection

Busses being retrofitted with driver doors

BREAKING: Wildfire burns near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

A team leader through four games of the CEBL Summer Series, Forte has been cut loose

Provincial government responds to Ryder Lake bad internet complaints

Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services, responded to a pair of letters sent to Victoria

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Most Read