Canada pipeline opponents ready to take on Kinder Morgan, Ottawa

Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:14pm EST
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By Nia Williams

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - If Canada approves Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company's four-year campaign for the project will be far from over. Next up is a battle against hardening opposition amongst some communities along its planned route.

The C$6.8 billion ($5.04 billion) project is a big step toward opening up Asian markets to supply from Canada's massive oil sands. Kinder Morgan plans to build a pipeline parallel to an existing line and nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels per day.

Without the expansion, Canadian oil sands producers may find it too costly to ship crude by rail, missing out on billions of dollars of export revenue.

First, the crude must travel from the conservative heart of the Canadian oil industry in Alberta across mountains and grasslands to the liberal West Coast. The further west on the route, the stiffer the resistance to the plan.

The pipeline ends at Burnaby, part of Vancouver's urban sprawl, which already hosts fuel tanks and the marine terminal for the existing pipeline, as well as a refinery. In opposition to further development thousands have taken to the streets vowing to block bulldozers if Trans Mountain construction goes ahead.

Ottawa has until Dec. 19 to decide whether to approve it, but the decision could come as soon as this week.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said he would join the protests even if could end his political career.

"It's not nice to be a politician who has been 15 years in this office, to be heading into the end of my career with something that would show civil disobedience," Corrigan, 65, told Reuters. "I lose sleep about whether or not this is going to turn into being something ugly."   Continued...

St'at'imc bear dancer Jackie Andrew of Lil'wat First Nation burns sage during a protest march against the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. REUTERS/Chris Helgren