Pipeline politics have ignited a trade war between the governments of Alberta and British Columbia – both led by NDP Premiers – with the Prime Minister clearly siding with Alberta and the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, as recently as February 1 . The latest episode in the longstanding interprovincial feud was triggered on January 30, when the B.C. government announced the formation of an independent scientific advisory panel to determine whether diluted bitumen can be effectively cleaned up after being spilled in water, and “Until that committee reports, the government will impose a regulation prohibiting any expansion, either by pipeline or rail, of heavy oil sands crude.” Details are in “B.C. announces oil transportation restrictions that could affect Kinder Morgan” in the National Observer (Jan. 30); “B.C.’s Action on Bitumen Spills ‘Finds Kinder Morgan’s Achilles’ Heel’ (Feb. 5).
Alberta’s reaction was strong. First, in what Toronto’s Globe and Mail described as a “spat” on February 1: “Alberta suspends electricity talks with B.C. over pipeline fight“. In a few days, The Energy Mix wrote ” Sour Grapes: Alberta to stop importing B.C. wine over Kinder Morgan feud” (Feb. 6) and “Alberta Declares Boycott of B.C. Wine in Escalating Kinder Morgan Dispute” (Feb. 7 ) . CBC News reports reveal the escalating emotions: “The Alberta vs. B.C. pipeline fight. Now it’s war.” (Feb. 3) and “Weaponizing wine: Notley’s engineering a federal crisis in her battle with B.C.” and “Oil, water and wine: “Escalating Alberta-B.C. feud threatens future of Trans Mountain pipeline” (Feb. 7); DeSmog Canada wrote “This might get Nasty: Why the Kinder Morgan standoff between Alberta and B.C. is a Zero-Sum Game” (Feb. 2). On February 9, Alberta’s Premier announced “a task force of prominent Canadians to respond to B.C.’s unconstitutional attack on the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the jobs that go with it”. The Market Access Task Force is loaded with government representatives and oil industry executives.
If you only have time to read one article about this dispute, read the analysis of Alberta’s Parkland Institute, in Let’s share actual facts about the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The three claims being made by the Alberta government are: 1. the pipeline would generate $18.5 billion for “roads, schools, and hospitals”; 2. it would create 15,000 jobs during construction, and 3. it would create 37,000 jobs per year. With deep expertise in the oil and gas industry, Parkland explains how these numbers were derived and why they are mostly outdated and selective.
Protests against Kinder Morgan will continue in B.C., with the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation calling for a mass demonstration on Burnaby Mountain in March. – see the CBC summary here.
Stepping back, see Andrea Harden-Donahue‘s January 24 blog for the Council of Canadians, “#StopKM: State of Resistance” , which details past resistance and demonstrations against KM, and states that “the Pull Together campaign recently reached the fundraising target of $625,000 towards Indigenous legal challenges.” For a view of the legal issues and lawsuits (including First Nations’) in this longstanding fight, see a West Coast Environmental Law blog published on January 17, before this war erupted: “Whose (pipe)line is it anyway? Adventures in jurisdictional wonderland “.