Trans Mountain expansion a pipeline to nowhere, say First Nations and community leaders
BURNABY — Facing determined opposition from First Nations and B.C. communities, 19 lawsuits against the Trans Mountain expansion project, a majority of provincial MLAs opposed and a narrow window to begin construction, Kinder Morgan announced a positive final investment decision last week – before even raising the money necessary to build.
“This company was founded from the ashes and rubble of Enron, a company synonymous with scandal, corporate fraud and bankruptcy,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “Today these same reckless cowboys are trying to convince gullible investors to plow cash into a pipeline they know will never be built.”
Kinder Morgan justraised C$1.75 billion through an initial public offering (IPO) that went live May 30, after failing to find a partner, bank or institutional investor willing to share the risk. The company has yet to finalize the route of the pipeline, fulfill dozens of federal conditions or obtain essential provincial permits – a feat they know will be exponentially more difficult with the BC Green Party and BC NDP uniting May 31. Shares were trading under the initial sale price after news of the agreement to govern BC was announced.
“Influential advisors are warning investors: do not invest a penny in this dead project,” said Sophie Harrison, coordinator of the long-running No Tankers campaign. “Today Kinder Morgan is bluffing, but our movement isn’t. We have all the legal and political tools we need to stop this risky pipeline and tanker project.”
The Public Health Association of B.C. notes that Kinder Morgan’s proposal has never undergone a comprehensive public health impact assessment.
“They’ve skipped many steps,” said Harrison. “But the lack of a public health plan may be their Achilles’ heel. If Kinder Morgan tries to push ahead with a project we know will put the health of First Nations and local communities in jeopardy, the province of B.C. has the power to force a public health review and stop construction.”
“We will do whatever is necessary to shut down Kinder Morgan in our territories,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. “That means Indigenous land rights lawsuits, land defence strategies and environmental stewardship legislation. We’re ready for all three. Now the question is, do investors have the stomach for a protracted, losing battle?”