Trans Mountain pipeline expansion: B.C. government ignoring legal and scientific process

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Global investor confidence in British Columbia hangs in the balance as Kinder Morgan suspends project

As an organization representing our province’s consulting engineers, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia (ACEC-BC) today expressed its disappointment with the circumstances that have led to the announcement from Kinder Morgan to suspend all non-essential spending on the federally-approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project. ACEC-BC calls on the B.C. government to end all actions intended to delay the project to restore investor confidence in the province.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project received Federal Government approval in November of 2016 after a rigorous and thorough 29-month regulatory process that resulted in Kinder Morgan meeting 157 environmental and legal conditions during the construction and operation of the pipeline. The project has gone through extensive public hearings and has filed voluminous reports on every aspect of the project, meeting all National Energy Board requirements.

This scientifically-vetted and legal process is being threatened by the B.C. provincial and Burnaby city governments, who, once the project received federal approval, were required by law to process permits properly. They have instead engaged in activities designed to deliberately terminate the project, not only to this project’s detriment, but potentially impacting future projects in this province.

“If investors cannot rely on a process that spells out what specific steps need to be taken for a project to proceed, especially for major projects that can take years to review and involve billions of dollars, why would they even consider future investment in British Columbia?” said Keith Sashaw, President and CEO, ACEC-BC. “While the announcement from Kinder Morgan is upsetting and frustrating, it is not surprising, as the decision is a logical outcome of the uncertainty created by the political posturing currently taking place in B.C.”

“What is particularly concerning about this situation is not just the potential economic impacts from eroding investor confidence in British Columbia, but the real and immediate economic pain that our industries will feel if other governments undertake retaliatory action,” said Sashaw. “It’s a double-edged sword, and it’s dangling directly over the heads of families in British Columbia and beyond whose livelihoods depend upon jobs in the engineering, construction and energy sectors.”

ACEC-BC joins the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, and the BC Business Council in a call for:

  • The B.C. government to immediately stand down on the current Spill Response Review process that will delay and/or endanger the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and, to the extent new and legitimate issues remain in this area, work jointly with other levels of government to collaboratively address them.
  • The B.C. government to withdraw from the City of Burnaby’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the matter of issuance of municipal permits for a federally-approved project.
  • The Prime Minister to convene an in-person meeting with the Premiers of British Columbia and Alberta as soon as possible, and secure their cooperation to address the issues facing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and, failing quick agreement, to seek final resolution by way of exercising the federal government’s legitimate authority in this matter.

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About the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, British Columbia (ACEC-BC)

ACEC-BC is British Columbia's provincial association of engineering consulting firms.  ACEC-BC represents 85 of BC's consulting engineering companies that provide engineering and other technology-based intellectual services to the public and private sectors, and are integral contributors to major projects in British Columbia. ACEC-BC firms employ more than 9,000 people in British Columbia comprised of a workforce of engineers, geoscientists, technicians, technologists and other support staff.

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