Horgan: Trans Mountain purchase changes nothing

The B.C. premier confirmed government will proceed with its legal efforts

A change of ownership will not change the course of British Columbia’s legal efforts around diluted bitumen or the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“I’m concerned that there could be catastrophic consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in British Columbia, regardless of the owner of the pipeline, regardless of the owner of the rail cars,” B.C. Premier John Horgan told media late Tuesday morning.

“Today’s announcement by the federal government does not reduce the risk of a diluted bitumen spill and the impact that would have on B.C.’s economy and its environment.”

Horgan said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed him of the federal government’s plan to purchase Kinder Morgan’s project earlier in the day. He reiterated throughout the press conference that the $4.5-billion deal will not affect B.C.’s participation in a joint federal court challenge of the pipeline’s federal approval, or its reference case before the B.C. Court of Appeal.

What will change, he noted: the nature of Trans Mountain as a federally owned project, rather than one that is only federally approved.

“I do believe that the federal government now is totally accountable, not just for regulation and approval of a pipeline, but they now are responsible from wellhead to tide water and beyond, and I think that allows me to have more candid discussions with the owners of the pipeline than I would have been able to when they were shareholders in a Texas-based oil company,” said Horgan.

“The federal government now is completely accountable and I think that is probably at the end of the day a good thing.”