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

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

LISTEN: Retired broadcaster gives voice to Fraser Valley history

Heritage buff Mark Forsythe introduces Valley Voices, a podcast featuring local history.

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Most Read