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Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals is soon due to rule on a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan’s expansion project for the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, possibly ending a saga comparable to the inter-house skirmishes in Game of Thrones.
If the verdict is favorable, it will be the final green light for the project, Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley said this week. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, this will wreak havoc on Ottawa’s already compromised national climate plan and set Alberta back on its road to economic recovery.
Notley said that “This is the single biggest thing people are waiting for. It’s what investors are waiting for, it’s what Ottawa is waiting for, it’s what Kinder Morgan is waiting for. I think if the court supports the [National Energy Board] process, then I think it opens the door for the federal government to bring all of its resources to bear to get the job done.”
This, The Globe and Mail points out, is the first time Alberta’s PM has signaled the event that could spell the province’s victory over its neighbor British Columbia and the starting pistol for the only major new pipeline project approved by Justin Trudeau’s government in the past couple of years.
A lot of people are suing Kinder Morgan for Trans Mountain. The case in question, however, is a consolidated lawsuit brought against the company by seven First Nations, several environmentalist organizations, and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby. There are also two separate cases brought by Burnaby and B.C.’s Attorney General against the National Energy Board, which recently gave its final approval to the project.
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Due to the strong opposition to the project, which would substantially increase the amount of crude oil transported from Alberta to the B.C. coast, and also due to the amount of documentation Kinder Morgan needs to obtain before launching it, the company in January said it would have to delay the start of the US$5.95-billion pipeline expansion to December 2020.
If victorious, the pipeline could end the suffering of Alberta’s oil producers, who have felt the weight of higher costs—and risks—of transporting crude by railway because of the pipeline capacity shortage that made the Trans Mountain expansion necessary.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.