The current impasse on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion have many pundits, politicians and citizens taking entrenched positions insinuating that this issue has an easy fix the Trudeau Federal Liberal Government is not willing to pursue. We list eight options for the Federal Government below, but as a Read more…
The National Infrastructure Act: How The Federal Government Can Get Infrastructure Projects Like The Trans Mountain Pipeline Done Fairly
The current Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline debacle agonizingly demonstrates that even medium scale infrastructure projects are easily stalemated in Canada. This has scared away vast sums of foreign direct investment as investors look for easier, more reliable places to put their money. This is a crisis and it appears Read more…
UPDATE: Sept 14 2018 – We just added new TMX articles you will find interesting: How Big Is The Pipe In The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion? How Big Are the Oil Tankers Heading to BC To Take Oil From Trans Mountain Pipeline? Are Oil Tanker Spills Getting Worse? Spill Statistics Read more…
Many people, and politicians (which are also people 🙂 ) have suggested that Alberta cut off the oil supply to British Colombia in an effort to punish the BC Premier, John Horgan. While that is one possibility, there are other things that can be done.
Some options are reasonable, some are draconian and some of them are just not possible.
Here are most of the options available to Alberta:
- Block BC Workers – This is possible but not likely:
- it would be very disruptive to business as the two provinces have a largely integrated work force
- it would annoy BC workers, many of which are in the oil sector, and they are some of Alberta’s biggest boosters in BC so it would be counterproductive to send them home
- Not Buy Electricity From BC – This is doable and in fact has already started
- Alberta walked away from talks to buy BC hydro power from the massive new “Site C” hydro project on February 1, 2018 when the Trans Mountain spat began
- this is a half billion dollar annual sale that BC is playing with
At the heart of the Canadian Federal Governments announcement today about fixing the process that determines if a large scale project is in the best interest of Canada or not, is a desire to limit ability Provincial, Municipal and interest groups (like ‘First Nations’) to stall approved projects. The idea is to:
- increase consultation so everyone’s voice is heard
- set firm and visible rules for industry so that “goal posts” are not being moved after the fact
- determine what is in Canada’s best interest, when that interest is at odds with local interest
These are clearly admirable goals. To achieve those goals there are now going to be three structures that industry must pass through to get Federal Government support:
- A new ‘Impact Assessment Agency of Canada‘ will do the preliminary investigation to determine the environmental effects of a project
- The existing ‘National Energy Board’ is demoted and renamed ‘Canadian Energy Regulator‘ but still be responsible for determining the technicalities of a project
- The ‘Federal Minister of the Environment‘ will have the final say if a project is viable and in Canada’s interest
So now the questions are, will these changes allow:
- Industry to decide that spending many millions of dollars to go through an elongated approval process that will have a definitive outcome be worth while?
- Provincial, Municipal and interest groups (like ‘First Nations’) to be heard and listened to?
There has been much debate over the process and all agree something big had to change:
- When industry works on large scale projects deemed to be in the Canadian national interest after years of consultation and vetting that are still blocked by local and regional interests, there is a big problem.
- When interest groups (i.e. some ‘First Nations’, Municipal governments (i.e. Vancouver) local and Provincial governments (i.e. BC) feel empowered to block large scale projects that adversely affect the rest of the country, there is an even bigger problem.
Dennis McConaghy, a former senior executive at Trans Canada Pipelines thinks these changes will not achieve the desired goals: