TORONTO – Kinder Morgan Canada won’t make further concessions on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company’s president said Friday, setting the stage for a showdown with British Columbia’s potential government-in-waiting.
Ian Anderson said he is willing to meet with the provincial NDP and Greens, who have vowed to immediately stop the $7.4-billion development should they oust the Liberals from power through an alliance.
But moments after toasting Kinder Morgan Canada’s debut earlier this week on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Anderson had a blunt message for the two parties.
“We’ll continue to listen,” Anderson said after opening the market Friday morning.
“But I don’t have any concessions planned for any further discussion at this point.”
B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said in a statement he’d be delighted to meet with Anderson to discuss his concerns, adding he served as an intervener in the National Energy Board process and felt he didn’t get satisfactory answers to some problems he posed.
“I have been clear on my position that B.C. cannot afford the risks associated with the transportation of diluted bitumen in our coastal waters,” Weaver said.
The majority of voters in the province recently sided with parties opposed to Trans Mountain, he added.
The NDP and Greens formalized an alliance earlier this week to form B.C.’s next government after the Liberal party failed to secure a majority in the May 9 election. The Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens three.
An official with the provincial NDP said Saturday that since the New Democrats aren’t in government yet they don’t want to get ahead of themselves.
The Trans Mountain expansion, which already has federal approval, could begin construction in September. The project would see a current pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., twinned, effectively tripling its capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.
Despite the uncertain political environment in B.C. — not to mention myriad protests and legal challenges — Anderson brushed off concerns the project would be delayed and said he doesn’t see any possibility of it being shelved.
“I’m not foreseeing any, any difficulty in the construction start this fall,” he said.
The company will be respectful of peaceful protests, he added, calling them “fair game for anybody.” However, if people choose to break the law, Kinder Morgan will have the authorities take care of it, he said.
“We are well-prepared.”
In the U.S., protesters camped out for several months to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline but ultimately failed to stop the project from going ahead.
Last year, the federal government and National Energy Board recommended approval of the Trans Mountain expansion, subject to 157 conditions, including various environmental and safety considerations.
Neither the NDP nor Greens have specified what they would do to stop the project, though experts have said they could delay or deny road access and other permits needed to proceed with construction.
Kinder Morgan Canada shares started trading Tuesday after an initial public offering of $1.75 billion. In midday trading Friday, its stock was at $16.65, up 1.3 per cent from Thursday’s close.
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