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Brad Wall refuses to apologize for Burnaby accusations

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is refusing to apologize for a serious accusation made by his government against Burnaby after getting a letter from the British Columbia coastal city’s lawyer.

On Nov. 3, the provincial government accused the City of Burnaby of “deliberately slowing down” permits needed by Texas-based Kinder Morgan to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Burnaby’s lawyer said in the letter that this accusation was “misinformed” and asked Saskatchewan to retract the comments.

On Monday, Wall admitted that the allegation, made by his attorney general, Don Morgan, was actually raised by the pipeline company and that his provincial government was trying to support the oil and gas industry.

“It is the view of the Trans Mountain pipeline proponents that the city is unnecessarily holding up the pipeline,” said Wall in a message posted on Twitter. “Saskatchewan has long held the view that for an interprovincial pipeline, once federal approval has happened, as it has, in the case of Trans Mountain, then provinces and municipalities shouldn’t be standing in the way.”

The @CityofBurnaby is asking for SK to apologize for saying they’re unnecessarily delaying fed-approved @TransMtn pipeline. We will not.

The statement from Wall came after his own government had rejected a deadline proposed by Kinder Morgan and requested more time to present arguments in a legal challenge launched by the pipeline proponent to have the National Energy Board (NEB) quash Burnaby’s municipal bylaws to speed up the construction process for the Trans Mountain expansion.

Until last Friday, Wall’s government, traditionally a strong defender of the oilpatch, had been uncharacteristically silent about the case. Kinder Morgan filed its legal motion against Burnaby on Oct. 26. The NDP government of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, meantime, has been publicly urging the NEB to intervene.

The legal back-and-forth is part of the latest maneuvers surrounding the controversial pipeline project that has sparked a bitter political debate about the future of Canada’s oil and gas industry.

The NEB has the powers of a federal court and can therefore quash the constitutional powers of B.C. and Burnaby if it agrees with the company’s arguments that the provincial and municipal governments are deliberately obstructing the permitting process.

If built, Trans Mountain would be able to ship up to 890,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Vancouver region, dramatically increasing oil tanker traffic off the coast through an area inhabited by endangered killer whales, while giving oil companies new access to potential markets in Asia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline last November, subject to 157 conditions. His cabinet determined that the project was in the public interest to support jobs and growth in the oil industry, which has been slumping since global commodity prices plummeted in the fall of 2014.

Opponents, including B.C., Burnaby, First Nations and environmental groups, say the project wasn’t worth building due to economic and environmental risks. But both Burnaby and the B.C. government, led by NDP Premier John Horgan, have insisted that they are running a fair approval process for permits needed for the project.

Brad Wall won’t apologize

Wall noted in his statement that it was important to build the pipeline since it would give Canadian oil companies new potential customers. This would give industry a higher price than what they are currently getting from customers in the United States, which is a destination for almost all Canadian oil exports.

In his carefully-worded message, Wall also said that his government wanted to defend the energy industry.

“I guess the mayor of Burnaby, has, today, asked for the Government of Saskatchewan to apologize for this action. We will not,” Wall said.

“I will never apologize. We will never apologize for standing up for the interests of the energy sector. It is a benefit, that sector, not only to our province, but to this entire country, and it’s important that we send a strong signal to those who are working in that energy sector, those who are risking dollars in that sector, even now as it’s gaining some strength again, that the Government of Saskatchewan will stand with them. So we also stand by this intervenor action.”

Burnaby says Attorney General Don Morgan made ‘inappropriate’ comments

Kinder Morgan itself has been ordered by the NEB to stop some of its construction activity after it began some work on seven waterways, without having the required federal approvals to proceed. It told the NEB that it was in a rush to proceed with that work to avoid several months of delays that would stop it from starting the expanded pipeline network by the end of 2019.

Meantime, Burnaby’s lawyer said in the letter that the city was proceeding with the regulatory process in good faith.

Previously, the city has said it couldn’t issue the necessary permits to allow Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. to expand its pipeline from the Edmonton area to a tank farm and port in Burnaby, near Vancouver, since the company hadn’t completed what was required.

City officials say it is inappropriate for Saskatchewan’s attorney general to prejudge a matter because the statements “may have the effect of influencing” a court or regulatory tribunal.

Burnaby’s letter to Morgan, which is dated Nov. 6, says as Saskatchewan’s senior legal representative, he should be impartial in the administration of justice.

“The City of Burnaby regulatory process has been applied in good faith, as the evidence will readily show in the motion before the NEB,” the letter says, adding the city believes it and its professional staff are owed an apology.

“We would ask that you reconsider the propriety of your comment, and withdraw it on the record.”

Kinder Morgan has applied to the energy board for an order allowing work to begin without permits from Burnaby on the $7.4 billion project, and has also applied for an “expedited determination” to resolve similar problems in future.

Saskatchewan wants to do ‘right thing’ for Canada

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Morgan refrained from repeating the comments that he had made in the Friday statement.

“We want to see the process go ahead as much as they can,” said Morgan. “I’d urge the City of Burnaby to sit down and focus on what they can do to speed up their process as much as they can… We’re looking at what is the right thing to do for Canada and for western Canada and that is getting our oil to tidewater. It goes through two other provinces as it leaves here. So we want to see that it takes place.”

Morgan added that the government was also intervening because it was worried about what happened with other pipelines and energy projects that were recently cancelled such as TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, which was terminated by the company in October.

British Columbia and Alberta have joined Saskatchewan in requesting intervener status at the hearing. B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said last week that Kinder Morgan’s recent actions to proceed with activity, without getting required approvals, is “reprehensible” and that the regulator should reject the company’s latest request.

Kinder Morgan officials have said delays in the project have the potential to cost millions of dollars and push the expansion nine months behind schedule or cause the project to fail.

The company has also urged the NEB to create new rules to fast-track any future arguments it makes about delays from provincial or municipal regulations. but the B.C. government, in its legal response to the NEB, that granting this request would be an abuse of process.

See article here……….

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Trudeau government on sidelines as Kinder Morgan executive to be cross-examined

The Trudeau government will be on the sidelines in late November as a Kinder Morgan executive is cross examined over his allegations that the City of Burnaby was deliberately delaying permits to block the Texas-based company’s west coast pipeline expansion project, the National Energy Board said late on Monday.

The cross examination would be part of public hearings to be held by the regulator in response to a request from Kinder Morgan to help it resolve construction delays. A representative from the City of Burnaby would also be subject to cross examination as part of the process as would anyone who submits an affidavit supporting either side of the case.

The procedure would be a departure from the NEB’s previous treatment of Kinder Morgan. The regulator had refused to allow cross-examination of company officials in its original hearings to review the Trans Mountain expansion project, which were set up when the former Harper government was in power.

This Harper-era decision was the first time the regulator had prevented cross examination of officials during a review of a major crude oil pipeline and was part of what prompted accusations of bias and an ongoing legal challenge from critics who accused the NEB of leading a rigged process.

The new hearings are slated to begin in the NEB hearing room in Calgary on Nov. 29, exactly one year after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in Ottawa that his government was approving the pipeline, along with 157 conditions for the company to meet in order to proceed.

Trudeau government declines to intervene in hearings

While it says it still supports the project, the Trudeau government has already indicated that it won’t be making any arguments in the upcoming hearings about the Burnaby controversy.

The office of federal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said it took instructions from the office of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

“It is not common practice for the Attorney General of Canada to intervene at a federal tribunal,” said Alex Deslongchamps, a spokesman for Carr. “We are confident in the role of the National Energy Board as an independent, quasi-judicial regulator to review the Trans Mountain proposal and determine the path forward. Our government stands by the decision to approve this federally-regulated project and the 15,000 good, middle class jobs it will create.”

A spokesman from the Saskatchewan Justice Department said that the provincial government wouldn’t comment on the federal attorney general’s decision not to intervene.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, if completed, would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline, allowing oil companies to ship up to 890,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia. Supporters say the project would create or support thousands of jobs and boost market access for western Canada’s slumping oilpatch, but opponents say that the project should not be built since the risks are too high that it could cause damage to the environment and the local B.C. economy.

While Kinder Morgan has alleged that Burnaby is delaying approvals of permits to slow down the process, the city has denied acting inappropriately and argued that Kinder Morgan must follow the same rules as any other developer seeking permits. The hearing process set out by the NEB on Monday will force the company to wait a few more weeks before it can get a decision on its request to speed up approvals.

This also comes after the company said through its legal submissions to the NEB that it was facing millions of dollars of losses and could no longer “tolerate further delay.”

tug boat, Kinder Morgan Marine Terminal, Burrard Intlet, Vancouver, Kinder Morgan says it has been struggling to get the permits it needs to proceed with its pipeline expansion project from Burnaby. File photo of Kinder Morgan marine terminal by The Canadian Press

Michael Davies, a vice-president of the energy giant’s Canadian operations, signed an affidavit saying that the mayor of the west coast city, Derek Corrigan, had told National Observer he “believed the permitting process was a legitimate method of slowing down the project.”

The National Observer news report he referred to didn’t actually say that. But Kinder Morgan has said that it believes the affidavit provided a “reasonable” interpretation of the mayor’s comments about wanting to use all legal and political means available to stop the project.

Mayor Corrigan has said that Kinder Morgan is playing “fast and loose with the facts.” He also said he wouldn’t interfere with the municipal regulatory process to block the project.

The NEB has powers of a federal court, which gives it the power to overrule municipal or provincial regulations, but it must also ensure that its proceedings are fair and just.

NEB rejects one of Kinder Morgan’s requests

While the federal government has said it will sit this one out, the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have both said they will intervene in the case to support the pipeline and the oil and gas industry. The B.C. government is also intervening to defend its constitutional right to protect the environment.

The hearings are separate from a legal challenge launched at the federal court of appeal by several groups that are seeking to quash the government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The NEB has also said that it doesn’t have the power to consider one of Kinder Morgan’s requests for it to set up a process to fast-track future claims that the provincial or municipal governments in British Columbia are not moving fast enough to issue permit approvals.

The B.C. government’s lawyer, Thomas Berger, had argued that such a request would be an “abuse of process” and urged the regulator in a written submission to reject it.

Under the process announced by the NEB, Burnaby will now have until Nov. 17 to present its additional submissions and evidence in the case, after which Trans Mountain will have five days to respond. The city, the company and the attorneys general from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan would then have two additional days to file their final submissions before the hearings begin on Nov. 29.

Following that, the NEB said it would hear final arguments on Dec. 4, allowing Trans Mountain the right of reply.

Kinder Morgan has said it could lose up to $90 million per month due to delays on the project, while warning that it might even fail. It had hoped to have its new pipeline up and running before the end of 2019, but now admits that deadline could be delayed by several months.

The company declined to provide further comment, outside of the NEB process.

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 3:10 p.m. ET on Nov. 7, 2017 with new comments from the office of the federal natural resources minister, from the Saskatchewan government, and Kinder Morgan.

See article here…..


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The transformative power of climate truth

Dear Reader:
We are not living in a post-truth era. We are living in a pre-truth era.

Yes, Trump and his administration are liars and criminals.

But did President Obama tell the whole truth about the urgency of climate crisis and the scale of the necessary response? Did Hillary Clinton? Does anyone in national politics? Does the climate movement? Do you?

Only policies based in reality can get us out of this crisis.

I recently updated my essay The Transformative Power of Climate Truth, one of The Climate  Mobilization’s foundational documents. The new subtitle, “Ecological Awakening in the Trump Age” reflects how the political situation and TCM’s strategy have changed since I first wrote it.

Transformative argues that positive change, both societal and personal, depends on our embracing the truth.  It also explores why climate truth is so rare, and how we as citizens can use it to ignite transformative — not incremental — change.

It’s been a horrifying year, but I haven’t lost hope. And it’s because people across the country have stopped waiting for politicians and pundits to wake up.

From Hoboken to Los Angeles, people like you are standing up and inaugurating a new politics of climate truth.

The pre-truth era is coming to a close. Together, we can make sure climate truth transforms this country for the better.

If any of our writing has had an impact on your life, please consider sharing your story and helping us fundraise or joining us asorganizers.

Onward!

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD
Founder and Director, The Climate Mobilization

Ecological awakening in the age of Trump

by Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, Founder and Director of The Climate Mobilization

 

See essay here……..

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx0AhW2o5XAcSGZ6QUNsckNHZTg/view

 


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Solar panels installed in the path of the Kinder Morgan pipeline

For Immediate Release

SECWEPEMC TERRITORY / KAMLOOPS – Today, members of the Secwepemc Nation known as the Tiny House Warriors are completing the installation of solar panels on a tiny house they’ve built to put directly in the path of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

“The solar panels we installed on the tiny house today will stand in the path of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline to model the type of energy our communities need and that our children’s future depends on. By harnessing the power of the the sun, we are telling Kinder Morgan and the Trudeau government that our energy systems can help nurture life instead of destroying it. This is what Indigenous consent on energy projects and what climate leadership should look like,” said Kanahus Manuel, a leader with the Tiny House Warriors and member of the Secewepemc Women’s Warrior Society.

Each of the four panels installed is 265 watts. They will be connected to the inside of the home to produce solar energy for household use. The panels were donated by Lubicon Solar, which also provided onsite support for the installation.

The Lubicon Cree is a First Nation in the heart of the tar sands in Northern Alberta. The Nation installed solar panels in their own community in 2015 after experiencing a 2011 oil spill that was the worst Alberta had seen in decades. The partnership is the latest example of growing Nation-to-Nation resistance to toxic oil projects across Turtle Island (North America), including tar sands pipelines and the Dakota Access pipeline.

“I am from a community impacted by tar sands extraction and I’ve seen first-hand the devastation a spill can have on people’s health, rivers and the land. I’ve also seen the hope that solar energy and green jobs can bring to Indigenous communities. The solarization of these tiny houses provides the practical energy needs as well renewable energy solutions this world needs instead of more tar sands pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s. From the heart of the tar sands all along the route to Kinder Morgan’s supertanker port, Indigenous communities are standing together to find solutions that honour the Earth,” said Melina Laboucan-Massimo of Lubicon Solar.

The solar installer assisting the Tiny House Warriors, Brett Isaac, is from the Najavo Nation in the USA and designed the mobile solar units that were taken to Standing Rock last year.

“Tiny houses, especially those powered by solar energy and owned by communities, send a powerful message about how we need to find ways of living that are in tune with the needs of our planet. From Standing Rock to Secwepemc territory to the tar sands, Indigenous communities are finding ways to innovate and resist corporate and colonial control,” said Brett Isaac.

The Tiny House Warriors have now built two tiny houses out of an intended 10, all based on the design used in Standing Rock. A third house is being constructed by supporters in Victoria. The homes are symbols of resistance to the pipeline but also symbols of hope and resilience that will eventually provide housing and reconnection with the land for members of the Secwepemc Nation.

Earlier this month, a report commissioned earlier this month by the Secwepemc Nation, whose land Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline is slated to cross, further details risks related to Indigenous assertions of their rights and title over unceded land.

                                                                – 31 –

Our Land is Home is a part of a mission to stop the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline from crossing unceded Secwepemc Territory. Ten tiny houses will be built and placed strategically along the 518 km TransMountain pipeline route to assert Secwepemc Law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline.

Contact:
Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society: 250-852-9002,

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Lubicon Solar: 780-504-5567

Tiny House Warriors

See Media Release here……


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What the National Energy Board won’t tell you about pipelines

iPolitics Insights by Ross Belot / November 2, 2017

The 2017 UN climate change conference in Bonn — otherwise known as COP23 — starts Monday. A year ago I said Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would be going there with nothing to brag about. This year, she can at least make small talk about her plans to teach children about climate change.

Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr is pleading with industry to reduce its energy consumption. Those firms that succeed in cutting energy use by 10 per cent or more will be formally recognized as Energy Star Achievers — demonstrating that, between Carr and McKenna, the Trudeau government’s approach to fighting climate change is the same one a middle school teacher would take.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: This government has no strategy to meet Canada’s emissions reduction commitments under the Paris accord, let alone Stephen Harper’s target of a 30 per cent reduction in emissions between 2005 and 2030.

Who says so? Our own National Energy Board. It just released Canada’s Energy Future 2017, a report that shows fossil fuel use peaking by 2019 and then flatlining through 2040. So our plan to transition to a low-carbon economy basically amounts to doing what we’re doing now, based on what the NEB thinks our fuel use will be in future.

The NEB presents some scenarios that Peter Watson, the NEB’s CEO, says show fossil fuel use declining in “a meaningful way.” One scenario involves higher carbon pricing. Let’s take a closer look at that one.

It has to be said that Watson has a pretty peculiar idea of what’s ‘meaningful’ in the face of global warming catastrophe. The NEB’s base case shows a 5 per cent decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 over 2005 — not because we’ll be using less energy (we’re going to be using 9 per cent more energy overall from fossil fuels, the NEB forecasts) but because we’ll have switched from ‘dirty’ coal to ‘cleaner’ natural gas by then.

No, his so-called ‘meaningful’ reduction in the NEB’s “high carbon pricing scenario” amounts to a paltry 4 per cent reduction — not terribly useful to a government that has pledged a 30 per cent reduction, to be achieved largely through the use of carbon taxes.

This tells us two things. First, the NEB makes no effort to tell us what we’d have to do to meet our Paris targets, and seems to have no interest in that. Second, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon pricing plan isn’t going to do the job.

open quote 761b1bMaybe — if the NEB started giving people all the facts — governments, industry and the public could have an informed conversation about the future of Canada’s energy sector. Instead, all we get is yelling and finger-pointing.”

That’s disappointing. Also disappointing is the disappearance from this report of the low price scenario which doesn’t support the NEB’s push for more pipelines. The NEB now produces just one price scenario through the 2020s, one that’s high enough to justify significant growth in the oilsands. The evidence they provided previously that did not support pipelines — that has mysteriously vanished from their forecast.

The use of multiple price scenarios as a requirement for assessing pipelines came up in the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s very critical review of Enbridge’s giant Line 3 expansion application. Ironically, the price data that just disappeared from the NEB’s report is exactly what Minnesota expected in an application — and its consultant cited last year’s NEB energy outlook as an example of what should be considered.

Now, it’s possible that the NEB and Watson think it’s far more important to show that marginal reductions in carbon emissions out in the 2030-and-beyond timeframe don’t affect our oilsands production than it is to present scenarios showing no growth in oilsands production due to low prices. But given its ongoing push for pipelines — and Watson’s own biased testimony to a Senate committee a while ago — one might wonder if the low-price scenario disappeared because its data conflicted with the pro-pipeline story. (After all, people like me use those numbers against the NEB — and they really don’t like it.)

Here’s something else we learned from Minnesota’s review of that pipeline application. The same consultants Enbridge used produced the economic basis for the Trans Mountain expansion application — consultants whose approach the Minnesota Department of Commerce described as ”simplistic — and in the case of pipeline capacity, unrealistic.”

The analysis Minnesota has done calls into question our regulator’s approach to pipeline approvals, since logic similar to the content in the Enbridge application has been applied by the NEB for Trans Mountain, resulting in approval.

I don’t know what’s going on with the NEB. The agency has capable people who do excellent work. But somehow, the data are getting misused. A low-price scenario — the one which looks like what we’re most likely to see over the next ten years at least — clearly suggests that oilsands production isn’t going to grow much. That scenario undermines the case for Energy East and knocks down the conspiracy theories about its cancellation: the market outlook — not the Trudeau government’s policies — killed that project. Same goes for Keystone XL’s prospects. Maybe — if the NEB started giving people all the facts — governments, industry and the public could have an informed conversation about the future of Canada’s energy sector. Instead, all we get is yelling and finger-pointing.

Do we need Trans Mountain? What benefits does it offer Canada? Who knows? As long as the NEB keeps spinning a supportive story instead of giving us real information, we can’t evaluate the costs and benefits of pipeline projects. The NEB’s approach appears to be to withhold data that call into question their CEO’s Senate testimony, instead of addressing the real questions.

Is the NEB in the business of professionally assessing pipeline applications? Or is it just another industry cheerleader?

See article here……

 


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Hydro electric firm, Honduran military planned Berta Caceres murder

  Austra Berta (L) and Laura Zuniga, mother and daughter of Berta Caceres at a press conference, Oct. 31, 2017.

Austra Berta (L) and Laura Zuniga, mother and daughter of Berta Caceres at a press conference, Oct. 31, 2017. | Photo: Reuters
 teleSUR November 1, 2017
“DESA high-level directors, state agents and criminal elements” formed a criminal network to “assassinate Berta Caceres,” said a lawyer with GAIPE.

A hydroelectric company that environmental activist Berta Caceres had fought plotted with Honduran military and security forces to kill the Indigenous leader in March 2016, an independent commission has found.

The investigation was carried out by the International Group of Advisors and Expert Persons, which is comprised of several lawyers from Guatemala, Colombia, Holland and the United States and was based on dozens of interviews, court records and partial access to evidence provided by government investigators.

The GAIPE found that high-level executives of Energy Development SA and government officials began planning the assassination of Caceres at least four months before they carried it out.

Roxana Althozt, a lawyer with GAIPE said, “DESA high-level directors, [Honduran] state agents and criminal elements” formed a criminal network to “assassinate Berta Caceres.”

Honduran authorities have arrested eight people for the murder, however, the GAIPE investigation points to other suspects.

Caceres was an important and vocal activist within the Civic Council of Popular Organizations and Honduran Indigenous. For over two decades she worked to protect the lands of the Lenca Indigenous of Honduras, and successfully fought DESA’s construction of the hydroelectric dam, Agua Zarca on the White River despite continual death threats and militarization of the area by Honduran forces.

A year before Caceres was gunned down in her home in northeastern Honduras, she was the awarded the Goldman Environmental Award for her continued environmental activism against DESA and the hydroelectric dam, located close to Lenca tribe sacred space.

Caceres’ family and COPIHN called for the creation of an independent panel in Nov. 2016 in order to investigate the activist’s death. The team read through over 2,000 pages related to the case, including “communications intercepted by Honduran authorities,” according to Reuters.

Althozt said at the press conference that DESA and police officials collaborated to follow and plot Caceres’ death. They also reported other environmental activists in the area were followed.

The Honduran Ministry of Security and Government and DESA did not respond to Reuters request for an interview regarding GAIPE accusations. DESA has repeatedly denied any involvement in the assassination of Caceres.

In an interview Caceres gave to COPIHN when awarded the Goldman prize, she said the Lenca and all Honduran Indigenous are “confronted with a hegemonic project created by national and international ‘big capital’ based in the energy, mining and agro-industrial sectors, adding, “we formally denounced the [Honduran] state’s participation in dozens of hydroelectric projects, but haven’t had any positive response.”


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Kinder Morgan warns of massive losses and blames Burnaby for pipeline delays

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson delivers a speech to a Vancouver business crowd on Nov. 3, 2016. File photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

Mike De SousaNational ObserverOct 27 2017 

After downplaying concerns about delays to its investors last week, Kinder Morgan is warning it could lose more than $90 million per month due to its struggles with the bylaws of the City of Burnaby in British Columbia.

The Texas-based energy company made the admission as part of hundreds of pages of documents filed on Thursday with Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB). The filings are urging the federal energy regulator to force the west coast city to forego municipal rules and accept construction of the multibillion dollar Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline expansion project.

The project, approved last November by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline network up to 890,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the west coast. Supporters say it could provide a boost to Alberta’s slumping oilpatch while creating thousands of construction jobs. Opponents say the project would dramatically increase tanker traffic, contribute to climate change and increase the risk of toxic spills.

In a 44-page affidavit, Michael Davies, vice president of operations for Kinder Morgan Canada, blamed delays in getting permits on Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, arguing that the politician was “staunchly opposed to the project” and that his city “will do everything it can to frustrate the project.”

Kinder Morgan tries to blame Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Davies said these delays would cost the company $30 to $35 million in costs, including salaries, contracts, fees, travel, office, overhead and other expenses.

“Additionally, based on current estimates, projected loss of revenue to TM (Trans Mountain) due to the delay in the Project start-up is likely to exceed $90 (million) per month of delay,” Davies wrote in the affidavit, dated Oct. 26, 2017.

The statement from Davies also attempted to blame Burnaby’s mayor for delaying municipal permits, citing a report published by National Observer.

The affidavit alleged that National Observer reported that Corrigan “believed the permitting process was a legitimate method of slowing down the project.”

But the news report Kinder Morgan referenced and attached to its filings didn’t include any such statement by Corrigan. Instead, it reported that Corrigan said he would use all resources available to him to hold the Trudeau government to account for an election campaign promise that only communities could grant permission for projects.

When asked about Kinder Morgan’s claims on Friday, Corrigan told National Observer in a phone interview that the company was playing “fast and loose with the facts.”

“It was quite stunning, because, first of all, I knew I never said anything like that,” Corrigan said. “What I said was exactly what I’ve always said. I’m going to use every legal means available to me in order to oppose this, and then, if potentially, if I exhaust all of my legal avenues, if I exhaust all of my political avenues, then I’m going to stand in front of a bulldozer and accept the consequences for doing something that is an act of civil disobedience. But never once, did I say that I would do anything to affect the integrity of the Burnaby system or affect the way that my city operates.”

burnaby_mayor_derek_corrigan_-_mychaylo_prystupa.jpgBurnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has said he’s willing to stand in front of a bulldozer to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. National Observer file photo

Kinder Morgan defends ‘reasonable interpretation’ of news report

When asked to explain the discrepancy between its claims and the facts reported by National Observer, the company responded with an email saying: “Kinder Morgan stands by its reasonable interpretation of the article, and the actual article was attached to the affidavit.”

The affidavit from Davies goes on to outline a series of emails and correspondence over the past few months in which the company has applied for permits, getting a range of different responses and rejections from the city. Those included a June 26, 2017 email stating that one of the company’s applications was incomplete, as well as a July 20, 2017 email in which the city said it didn’t have enough resources to process all of the applications “simultaneously.”

Kinder Morgan has also run into obstacles over its efforts to comply with a city bylaw that requires a “tree plan” for every application requiring the removal of trees. This would require an applicant to meet a number of requirements, including providing information on the location and diameter of each protected tree to be removed. Kinder Morgan requested an exemption from this bylaw, but the city denied this request on Oct. 10, 2017, the affidavit said.

Corrigan said that Kinder Morgan’s Canadian boss, Ian Anderson, came into his office to discuss the matter earlier this week, prior to the company’s filings with the NEB. The mayor said that the executive then pressured him to intervene during a meeting that lasted about 45 minutes.

“He came in to essentially threaten me that he was going to go to the National Energy Board over the permitting process and what was I going to do about it,” Corrigan said in an interview.

“I said to Ian Anderson that I do not interfere with the regulatory process in the city and the appropriate processes for granting permits. And I would neither interfere to hinder their application, nor to advance their application. It’s strictly an area in which our staff have to act objectively and independently.”

Kinder Morgan executives ‘optimistic’

The latest filings and concerns about delays contrast with what senior company executives told investors a few days ago during an amicable Oct. 18, 2017 conference call with investors.

On the call, the executives touted progress in securing permits needed from the provincial and federal governments, noting that they were “slower than we expected it to be,” but they neglected to mention any of their concerns about the City of Burnaby.

“I’m optimistic we can, working with our contractors and the permitting authorities to create more efficiency and timeliness of those (permit) processes,” said Richard Kinder, co-founder and executive chairman of the company.

Richard Kinder, Kinder MorganKinder Morgan’s co-founder, Richard Kinder, said on Oct. 18, 2017 that he was “optimistic” about getting the permits needed to begin building the Trans Mountain expansion. File photo by The Associated Press

Kinder’s comments came during a cordial exchange that was prompted by questions from Robert Kwan, an analyst for RBC capital markets.

“The events of the last couple of weeks are very encouraging. And I’m optimistic as a result of those. But we need to maintain that and we need to be working with our contractors, now, to look for ways and means to keep the schedule,” Kinder added.

Steven Kean, the president and chief executive of Kinder Morgan, also told Kwan on the call that the company was making progress with the B.C. government, getting hundreds of permits out of about 1,000 required to proceed with construction.

“I think the other message there, Robert, is that, you know, the bureaucracies and the statutory authorities of B.C. have continued to do their work,” Kean said. “We don’t yet see any evidence of any political interference.”

Kwan, the RBC analyst, declined to respond to questions about whether he had considered asking Kinder Morgan about the Burnaby situation or whether he thought the executives should have disclosed concerns about the city during the call. An RBC Capital Markets spokeswoman instead sent National Observer an analysis Kwan had prepared, after the company’s filings on Thursday. The analysis said that Kinder Morgan’s shares on the stock market could suffer if the NEB rejects the company’s filings, but that they could benefit if the regulator accepts the request.

Kwan’s analysis also noted that the B.C. Supreme Court had ruled against Burnaby following a similar dispute in 2015.

Kinder Morgan says its doors remain open to Burnaby

Eugene Kung, a staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, a firm that recently supported arguments in a court challenge seeking to quash the federal government’s approval of the pipeline, said that Kinder Morgan’s recent filings indicate it doesn’t want to follow Burnaby’s bylaws.

“It’s part of this larger pattern, unfortunately, of Kinder Morgan kind of picking and choosing which laws it wants to follow,” Kung told National Observer.

Kinder Morgan declined to respond to other questions about its filings, referring National Observer to a statement on its website that accused the city of dragging its feet.

“The City’s failure to act in a timely manner raises serious issues of jurisdiction that we are compelled to bring to the Board’s attention,” the company said in the statement. “The Project will provide important local, regional and national benefits and that is why we are also asking the NEB to establish a process for Trans Mountain to bring similar matters to the Board for expedited determination in the future. As previously disclosed, such measures are necessary to help mitigate a possible delay in the construction schedule.”

The company also said that its “door remains open to the City of Burnaby” and that it welcomes the opportunity to discuss a solution.

An NEB spokesman said that the regulator has an obligation to review the company’s request and that it would set out a process for next steps after it has had the chance to review it.

Meantime, when asked if Burnaby would consider hiring more staff to speed up processing of Kinder Morgan’s permit applications, Corrigansaid he felt no obligation to help Kinder Morgan.

“One of the points that I want to make out of this is that Kinder Morgan thinks that it’s way more important than it is,” he said. “I have a billion dollars worth of development going on in my city this year. I have got a multitude of high-rise developments, commercial developments, rental developments, they’re happening. And our staff are under significant pressure to be able to accommodate all of the projects that are before us. Kinder Morgan doesn’t walk in and elbow everybody else out of the way. It may be that they think that they’re important enough that they can simply tell people what to do and they may have gotten used to that at the National Energy Board. But in Burnaby, they queue with everybody else to go through the system and ensure that we’re able to deal with them in due course.”