(Reuters) - The city of Burnaby, British Columbia, accused Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd (KML.TO) of disrespecting municipal regulations on Friday, after the company appealed to Canada’s energy regulator for approval to start work on its Trans Mountain oil pipeline.
The company, a unit of Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N), on Thursday asked the National Energy Board for approval to start some construction work in Burnaby as it has been unable to obtain the necessary permits from the city.
Kinder Morgan said delays were costing it millions of dollars every month and the city was failing to act in a “timely manner.”
The Trans Mountain expansion would triple capacity on the existing pipeline from the oil-rich province of Alberta to the British Columbia coast to 890,000 barrels per day, and was approved by the federal government last year despite fierce opposition from environmentalists, aboriginal groups and some municipalities.
Canada’s oil industry says it needs the expanded pipeline capacity to open up export markets in Asia and boost the price of its landlocked crude.
Officials from the City of Burnaby, home to the marine terminal and tank farm where the pipeline terminates, rebuked Kinder Morgan for appealing to the regulator.
“Because of the size and scope of Kinder Morgan’s project, these approvals take time,” city manager Lambert Chu said in a statement. “For several months city staff have worked diligently and have also met regularly with company representatives in the process as directed by the NEB. Now the company seems to want more.”
Kinder Morgan declined to comment on the City of Burnaby’s statements.
NEB spokesman James Stevenson said the regulator had received the company’s request and would set out a process for reviewing it.
Mayor Derek Corrigan said Kinder Morgan President Ian Anderson came to his office on Wednesday to complain about the permitting process.
Corrigan is a vocal opponent of the pipeline project and has pledged civil disobedience to help disrupt construction. He said on Friday he has no influence on the speed of the municipal regulatory process.
“The city remains opposed to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline project and council will continue to pursue every legal option to oppose the project,” Corrigan said in a statement. “We will not, however, interfere with processes that Kinder Morgan has a right to pursue, including requests for city permits.”
Reporting by Nia Williams and Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Matthew Lewis