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.

Just Posted

Comedy, chicken poop and dancing at Lytton Festival

This year’s festival will honour longtime supporter Shirley James

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read