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A coalition of 32 environmental, citizen, and indigenous groups is calling on insurers to stop underwriting insurance for the Trans Mountain Pipeline and its expansion and to not insure any future oil sands projects.
The coalition—which includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Union of BC Indian Chiefs, among others—has sent a letter to the 27 insurers listed on the insurance certificate for the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“Considering the risks of this project, we are writing to request that your company not renew this policy and rule out any insurance services for all aspects of the Trans Mountain Pipeline,” the groups said in the letters to the insurers.
The federal government of Canada approved in June the controversial Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project that it bought from Kinder Morgan last year. The project will triple the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 bpd, and this has sparked the outrage of the British Columbian government and a series of moves aimed at stopping the project.
Canada is currently in the process of renewing liability insurance for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and will have to provide insurance for the expansion project six months before it starts operations.
The coalition of 32 groups “hopes that by pushing companies to drop their existing insurance policies with Trans Mountain and to stop insuring future oil sands projects, it will show the Canadian government that the expansion is uninsurable and should not continue,” the coalition said in a statement on Thursday.
“If the insurance industry doesn’t provide coverage, Canada will be forced to self-insure the expansion, putting taxpayers on the hook for an additional $1.1B,” the environmentalist and Indigenous groups say.
Twelve out of the 27 insurers replied to the letter, including Zurich which said it would insure the pipeline.
“Our position is to continue to provide insurance coverage whilst we have discussions with the owner as to how the current pipeline supports the Government of Canada's ambition to meet the Paris Agreement,” Zurich said, while many of the other insurers who responded declined to discuss individual client relationships.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.