Tag Archives: British Columbia

Trans Mountain ordered to delay pipeline construction in B.C. bird nesting area

Bird nests delay part of TMX pipeline construction

Workers survey around pipe to start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in Acheson, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

VANCOUVER – Environment and Climate Change Canada has ordered a halt to construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline through a forest in Burnaby, B.C., until the end of bird nesting season.

The department said the order was issued following an enforcement officer’s visit to the site prompted by complaints that nests of the Anna’s hummingbird and other migratory birds were being damaged.

“Given that it is nesting season, migratory birds are particularly vulnerable at this time,” it said in an emailed statement.

“Cutting vegetation and trees or carrying out other disruptive activities such as bulldozing or using chainsaws and heavy machinery in the vicinity of active nests will likely result in disturbance or destruction of those nests.”

It said construction is paused until Aug. 20.

The $12.6-billion expansion project is designed to triple the capacity of the existing pipeline between Edmonton and the shipping terminal in Burnaby to about 890,000 barrels per day of products, including diluted bitumen, lighter crudes and refined fuel.

Sarah Ross of the Community Nest Finding Network said the group began noticing hummingbirds in the Burnaby area in February. Anna’s hummingbirds are some of the first birds to nest and arrive as early as January, she noted.

“In the small area that we’re monitoring, I’d say there’s probably a dozen nests,” Ross said in an interview. Her group is watching a third of the area pipeline builders have been told to avoid.

“We’ve been really surprised at the density of hummingbird nests in this area. It’s a really rich habitat for them. It has all the things that they need — close to clean water and has all the blossoms of the salmonberry.”

Hummingbirds arrive to feed in Leonor Pardo’s Enchanted Garden in San Francisco de Sales, near Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Fernando Vergara.

The group reported the presence of nests in the area to Trans Mountain and federal and provincial environmental authorities, she said.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said it issued orders following two on-site inspections.

It gave a verbal order on April 12, which asked the company to “immediately refrain from disturbing, destroying or taking a nest or an egg of a migratory bird” in the 1,000-metre area along Highway 1.

Trans Mountain was also ordered to immediately stop or shut down any activity, including tree trimming and cutting that may require the use of heavy machinery including bulldozers and chainsaws that could disturb and destroy nests.

About 10 days later, the department ordered the company to put up signs in the area that say no activity is allowed during the nesting period.

Trans Mountain confirmed that the order applied to a 900-metre area along the Brunette River for the duration of the nesting period.

“While Trans Mountain endeavours to conduct tree clearing activities outside of the migratory bird nesting periods, this is not always feasible,” it said in a statement.

The company didn’t respond to questions about possible added costs or how the order might set back the timing of the pipeline’s completion.

Anna’s hummingbirds and other bird species found in the area such as song sparrows, pine siskins, robins and black-capped chickadees are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

The company said it is in talks with Environment and Climate Change Canada to determine how it can mitigate the disturbance to migratory birds during the nesting period.

“Trans Mountain’s policies and procedures for the protection of migratory birds and their habitat were developed in consultation with stakeholders and communities and have been extensively reviewed by federal and provincial regulatory authorities,” it said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

[SOURCE]

B.C. Starts New Reconciliation Process With Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs

Drummers play as Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale), front left, enters the room as Indigenous nations and supporters gather to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation before marching together in solidarity, in Smithers, B.C., January 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS

British Columbia says it’s starting a new reconciliation process with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who are at the centre of opposition to a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

The province says in a release Thursday that the government and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en are undertaking a process focused on Wet’suwet’en title, rights, laws and traditional governance throughout their territory.

The release says B.C. has appointed Victoria MP and lawyer Murray Rankin as its representative to help guide and design the process, adding that Rankin has an understanding of the Supreme Court’s historic Delgamuukw decision that helped define Indigenous title.

It says the province and the Wet’suwet’en are committed to explore a path forward together that seeks to build trust over time and meaningfully advance reconciliation.

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose Coastal GasLink’s plans to build a pipeline from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada’s export terminal in Kitimat, and RCMP arrested 14 people at a blockade last month before reaching a deal with the chiefs.

The province says its commitment to lasting reconciliation is not connected to any specific project, and the new process will build on discussions that have been ongoing since Premier John Horgan and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Scott Fraser visited the territory in August.

“We all recognize that the path forward will involve challenges. It will take a willingness to innovate and take bold steps together,” the province says.

“This engagement is a historic opportunity to advance Wet’suwet’en self-determination and self-governance, and for the province and Wet’suwet’en Nation to establish a deeper relationship based on respect and recognition of rights.”

[SOURCE]

Kinder Morgan says investment in oil pipeline expansion may be untenable

Replacement pipe is stored near crude oil storage tanks at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) – Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N) said on Wednesday that recent events confirm an investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion may be “untenable” and said Ottawa’s pledge of financial support does not resolve political risk related to British Columbia’s opposition.

The comments come as the British Columbia (B.C.) government pledged to file a legal challenge by month-end to determine whether it has the jurisdiction to stop the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016 and would nearly triple capacity on the pipeline from Alberta to a Vancouver-area port.

Kinder Morgan Canada (KML.TO), a unit of Kinder Morgan, halted most spending on the expansion earlier this month and set a May 31 deadline to decide if it would scrap the project entirely, citing legal and jurisdictional issues.

“As we said then, it’s become clear this particular investment may be untenable for a private party to undertake. The events of the last 10 days have confirmed those views,” Chief Executive Steven Kean said on a conference call.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada is prepared to offer financial aid to ensure the project goes ahead, Kean dodged a question about whether that support would ensure construction.

“They’re really two separate things,” he said. “Most of the investment is in British Columbia, where the government is in opposition to the project … That is an issue that, in our view, needs to be resolved.”

The Trans Mountain expansion is considered crucial for Alberta’s oil industry which has been beset by transportation bottlenecks. It is fiercely opposed by some B.C. cities, some aboriginal groups, and environmentalists concerned about possible oil spills.

M&A ON THE TABLE

The company said while it is not in a position to move on takeovers until the uncertainty around Trans Mountain is resolved, it sees good opportunities in the western Canadian midstream space.

“There are some very capable players with good midstream assets,” Kean said, adding: “Intent is, and was, that KML would be the vehicle to invest in those opportunities.”

The company has a strong balance sheet and is well positioned for takeovers, especially if cash earmarked for capital projects is freed up, said M. Paul Bloom, investment manager with Bloom Investment Counsel.

“I think you can expect if the Trans Mountain pipeline does not go ahead (Kinder Morgan) will be bidders for various assets here in Canada, and probably fairly quickly as well,” he said.

Kinder Morgan Canada, which was spun off from parent Kinder Morgan in May last year, reported a net income of C$44.4 million ($35.17 million) for the first quarter ended March 31, down from C$46.8 million for the same period last year.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan separately reported net income available to common stockholders of $485 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter to the end of March, compared with $401 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.

[SOURCE]

 

Justin Trudeau to Pressure British Columbia to Accept Trans Mountain Pipeline

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | Reuters

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to pile pressure on British Columbia’s provincial government to drop its resistance to a pipeline project, but will try to avoid tougher measures that might alienate voters who helped his Liberals win power, a source close to the matter said on Wednesday.

Trudeau is racing against time. Kinder Morgan Canada said it would scrap the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta to the west coast unless all legal and jurisdictional challenges facing the project are resolved by May 31.

The pipeline, which Canada’s oil industry considers crucial, is opposed by British Columbia’s left-leaning New Democratic provincial government. Environmentalists and aboriginal activists are mounting frequent protests and British Columbia police have arrested about 200 people around Trans Mountain facilities since mid-March.

Trudeau’s Liberals picked up seats in the province in the last election, but the federal NDP – which opposes the pipeline – remains a force there.

This could make Trudeau’s federal government cautious as it is locked in a rare standoff with a provincial counterpart. British Columbia opposes the expansion, citing fears that the risk of a spill in the Pacific province is too great.

Ottawa insists it has jurisdiction over the project and Trudeau is under huge pressure to crack down. For now, he will press the provincial government, pointing to polls showing most Canadians want the expansion to go ahead.

“We need to take actions that are focused on the government of British Columbia,” said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. Trudeau will hold more talks with the province as well as Kinder Morgan Canada, the source added.

Trudeau must be careful because British Columbia voters and environmentalists gave him strong support that helped bring him to power in 2015. A crackdown could cost him support in both camps ahead of a federal election set for October 2019.

Although Ottawa says it is exploring all regulatory, legal and financial alternatives, the source conceded “there aren’t an awful lot of options for the prime minister.”

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau discussed the matter with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Toronto on Wednesday and told reporters that Ottawa had yet to make a final decision.

“We are working, using all the tools at our disposal, to make sure we move forward in short order to absolutely ensure this project goes forward,” he said, without giving details. “We have to ensure the rule of law in this country works.”

Some pipeline supporters have urged Trudeau to declare a national emergency to push through the pipeline, but the source said that idea is “preposterous.”

Also off the table for now are calls from opposition members to reduce the payments Ottawa sends to British Columbia to help fund social programs.

“Are they actually suggesting we cut … health and social transfers to hard-working British Columbians?” said the source.

Ottawa and Alberta have talked about investing in the project, though it was unclear how that would lessen British Columbia’s opposition.

Some commentators suggest provincial and federal governments underwrite the project by providing insurance, essentially leaving them on the hook if the company decides to walk away.

If pipeline supporters view Trudeau as too soft, they could accuse him of not doing enough to prevent a constitutional crisis and of abandoning the energy industry in Alberta, where the Liberals also picked up extra seats in 2015.

“I don’t think it’s a win for him in British Columbia or Alberta under any circumstances,” said pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research. “The problem is that is this open warfare on principle.”

By David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon (Reuters)

[SOURCE]

Grizzly Bear Hunting Banned in British Columbia

There are about 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia

British Columbia has formally brought an end to grizzly bear hunting in the province.

The B.C. government says public consultations have made it clear that killing grizzlies is no longer socially acceptable.

On Monday the NDP banned all grizzly bear hunting in the province with immediate effect.

According to the government, 78 per cent of British Columbians recommended grizzly hunting be stopped entirely.

First Nations will still be allowed to hunt grizzlies for food, social or ceremonial reasons, or for treaty rights.

The government estimates there are about 15,000 grizzly bears in the province.

The grizzlies will now be protected province-wide from both trophy and regular hunting.

In August, the provincial government announced a ban on trophy hunting across all of B.C., which came into effect following the close of the fall hunting season on Nov. 30.

Around 300 grizzly bears are killed in the hunt every year, about 250 of which are taken by non-First Nations hunters.