There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when it comes to B.C. and Alberta’s spat over the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion, and one West Shore resident is sure to be at the forefront of the discussion.
The pipeline has received federal approval and ultimately it’s their jurisdiction. In January, Christy Clark’s BC Liberals gave the project its stamp of approval, putting an end to any potential for conflict from the province.
For the time being.
Thanks to a deal with the BC Greens, Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA and BC NDP leader John Horgan is likely to become the province’s next premier when the legislature returns from a nail-biting election, and both he and Weaver have been clear in their opposition to the project. Many First Nations groups are also opposed.
So where does that leave this $7.4 billion project?
Kinder Morgan says it plans to go ahead with construction this year and that no further concessions are planned. Meanwhile, Horgan says he will use every tool he has available to him to stop the project.
And for Alberta premier Rachel Notley, “mark (her) words, that pipeline will be built.”
Regardless of Alberta’s pipeline needs, B.C.’s environmental concerns are valid, as are the economic spin-offs and the jobs created by this project.
A spill could cause irreparable damage to the coastal environment that is not only what helps make this province a great place to live, but brings in countless economic dollars as well. And spills have happened, 82 of them since 1961, albeit most of them minor.
The pipeline will also increase the amount of tanker traffic off the B.C. coast, a source of anger for many West Shore residents who already feel as though their views of the Strait are spoiled by the vessels. There also could be a potential hazard in the case of a spill on the water. While the feds might have jurisdiction, B.C. can make the project a nightmare for Kinder Morgan if it isn’t appeased, with protests and construction permit delays as the main weapons in their arsenal.
Just like landlocked Alberta profits off of oil deposits, we profit off of our coast, and any risks must be mitigated and clean up from inevitable spills must be the responsibility of Kinder Morgan, Alberta and the federal government, but not B.C.
Clearly all parties need to come together to find a middle ground instead of continuing to supply escalating media soundbytes, or this project will face numerous challenges.
Until both sides work together, a peaceful resolution may be an even bigger pipe dream.