This is a guest editorial submitted by Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada.
On July 3, we announced our plans to commence work on the pipeline portion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project this summer in Alberta and British Columbia - in addition to continuing the work already underway at our Westridge Marine Terminal. This is a major milestone for us, but more importantly for the communities, workers, local businesses and Indigenous groups that have been waiting to share in the success of the project.
Getting “boots on the ground” in two provinces is the realization of the hard work and dedication of the thousands of individual Canadians who have been a part of this process for more than six years. It is recognition of the project’s importance to the future of our energy industry and our economy. The twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline has become symbolic of how we, as a country, work together. The start of widespread construction activities says Canada can have a healthy, rigorous discussion about issues and also ensure a project that has met every standard and followed every process gets built.
The Government of Canada approved our project after careful consideration. They believe it can be built and operated safely, responsibly and in respect of the environment and the communities we touch. Ultimately, they concluded it should be built in the broad interest of Canadians. This commitment was reinforced in late May when the Government of Canada agreed to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the Expansion Project, and fund the resumption of planning and construction work.
We understand many Canadians may have only recently heard about or taken notice of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and our project, but Trans Mountain has been a part of the landscape in B.C. and Alberta since the 1950s. We have built well-established relationships with Indigenous communities, landowners and neighbours over our 65 years of operating a pipeline system in urban centres, through farmlands, across borders and in some of the country’s most pristine park lands.
The project has evolved substantially since it was first proposed in 2012, much of this in response to consultation and input from with the public, local governments, Indigenous peoples and technical experts. These conversations have resulted in a stronger, safer project, and one that reflects the views of communities more closely than it did at the onset.
As we continue work on our Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby and start pipeline construction,it’s time to begin delivering on the economic benefits we’ve talked about.
Over the past several years, I’ve personally worked hard to establish and build upon our existing relationships with Indigenous peoples along our pipeline and marine corridors. Together, we’ve explored and, in many cases, settled on agreements that provide new opportunities and prosperity, in addition to ensuring the project design and planning incorporates appropriate measures to protect Indigenous interests in the lands and waters.
Trans Mountain has signed 43 Mutual Benefit Agreements with First Nations in B.C. and Alberta, 33 of which are located in B.C. The agreements signed will see Trans Mountain share in excess of $400 million with those communities.
We have a community investment program with agreements in place with 19 communities representing 95 per cent of the pipeline right-of-way, where we’ll spend almost $10 million on local projects.
As part of our negotiated agreement with the B.C. government, we’ve committed up to $1 billion over 20 years to a newly created B.C. Clean Communities Program to be accessed by communities for local projects across the province.
We also have an agreement with the Pacific Salmon Foundation that includes a $3 million commitment for multi-year programs to protect wild, pacific salmon. This funding is above and beyond the commitments the federal government has made through the Oceans Protection Plan.
To all Canadians - those we’ve come to know through our existing operations and as we’ve developed the project, and those we’re just meeting - we’re excited to deliver on our commitments and ensure as many people as possible can benefit from an expanded pipeline while maintaining safety and balancing social and environmental interests.
- Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada