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On May 19, a National Energy Board press release stated, “Taking into account all the evidence, considering all relevant factors, and given that there are considerable benefits nationally, regionally and to some degree locally, the Board found that the benefits of the Project would outweigh the residual burdens.” The Kinder Morgan TransMountain Pipeline NEB approval, with 157 conditions , is subject to review by a three-member federal panel, announced on May 17 , which has until November to report to the Minister of Natural Resources. The final decision will then be made by the federal Cabinet. See “ Trudeau Declares Resource Promotion a PM’s ‘Fundamental Responsibility’” , and “McKenna won’t give a straight answer about Enbridge pipeline” (May 17) , summarizing the mixed messages and political manoeuvering over pipeline development. Also of interest, from DeSmog blog: “Enbridge and Kinder Morgan lobby hard as Feds change tune on Pipelines” .
The Kinder Morgan decision had been the focus of Canada’s Break Free divestment protests on May 14, and Canada’s 350.org states that the NEB decision doesn’t change “the simple fact that the Kinder Morgan pipeline will never be built.” EcoJustice reacted with: “Ready to continue fight against Kinder Morgan” in the courts, and citizens , local governments, and environmental groups also oppose Kinder Morgan: see “Local Governments deeply disappointed” , and “NEB sides with Texas-based pipeline company against B.C. citizens, First Nations” . Chances that First Nations will approve the pipelines are non-existent, according to a National Observer report (May 19) in which Rueben George, spokesperson for the local Tsleil-Waututh Nation, states ” First Nations have won 170 legal cases around resource extraction, that’s a 97 per cent victory rate. It’s pretty clear to me that we have veto power over this company.” The interactive map (above) by the Wilderness Committee shows the Kinder Morgan route and summarizes the opposition by First Nations throughout the NEB consultations .
The Alberta Government calls the NEB decision “a responsible national approach to energy infrastructure. Canada is balancing the need for much stronger action on climate change with the need to pay for that action, by sustainably developing our natural resources – including our energy resources.” From the British Columbia government: “ We will only support new heavy-oil pipelines in British Columbia if our five conditions can be met. These conditions include the successful completion of the environmental review process, ensuring world-leading marine and land-based spill response, prevention and recovery systems are in place, ensuring legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed and First Nations are provided with the opportunities to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project, and, finally, that British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits from any proposed heavy-oil projects.… “The responsibility for meeting the five conditions is complex and will take a great deal of effort from both industry and governments….we will continue to work with the proponent and all stakeholders to address B.C.’s needs.” And indeed, the B.C. government passed legislation to alter the boundaries of Finn Creek Provincial Park in May, after a Kinder Morgan submission that requested changes to four park boundaries .
Unnoticed amidst the Kinder Morgan debate was a report released on April 28 by the Council of Canadian Academies(CCA). Commercial Marine Shipping Accidents: Understanding the Risks in Canada , explores the likelihood of commercial marine shipping accidents, including oil spills, and considers their potential social, economic, and environmental impacts. Noting significant gaps in the available data, and that there have been few such accidents, the report concludes that the Pacific Region has the highest level of shipping activity, but has a relatively low risk profile. The report concludes that Canada has a well-developed oil spill response regime overall, but identifies areas for improvement as “ the need for a hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) preparedness and response regime across Canada, as well as further research into how substances classified as HNS behave in a marine environment.” The report was commissioned by the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, a not-for-profit based in Vancouver since 2014. Its goal is to provide unbiased, independent research; its funding comes from the governments of Canada, Alberta, and “industry groups represented by CAPP” (the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers).