Horgan says no matter who owns Trans Mountain pipeline, still concerned for ‘catastrophic consequences’


WATCH: Premier John Horgan said the province will not abandon court cases aimed at resolving jurisdiction in the Kinder Morgan pipeline dispute and is urging anti-pipeline protestors to continue to voice their concerns.

The B.C. premier says his government’s concerns over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion doesn’t change no matter who the owner is.

John Horgan addressed media at the legislature Tuesday morning on the heels of federal finance minister Bill Morneau’s earlier announcement that Ottawa plans to buy the project, along with Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets, for $4.5 billion.

“It does not change the course that the government of British Columbia has been on since we were sworn in in July of 2017,” Horgan said.

The NDP government has opposed the pipeline expansion for environmental reasons and Horgan said he is still concerned about “catastrophic consequences” from a potential diluted bitumen spill.

The deal between Ottawa and Kinder Morgan will see construction by the company resume until the sale is finalized, and then the federal Liberals will take over and look to sell the project to interested investors later on.

Horgan spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prior to Morneau’s announcement.

Although he says it changes the project from a federally approved to a federally undertaken project, the province has no plans to withdraw its reference case in court to determine what power it has to control the flow of oil in B.C.

“I will continue to do my best to protect B.C.’s interests by ensuring that our coast, our water, our land is kept pristine so that our economy can continue to grow,” Horgan said.

“I will continue to work for the people of British Columbia, with the full force of my efforts within the courts and within the rule of law.”

Horgan said the project has not been a personal issue between him and the Prime Minister and they’ve worked together on a range of issues, but they disagree on this matter.

The federal government plan to take over the project comes two days before a deadline from Kinder Morgan for assurances the pipeline would be built without further delays, or they would walk away.

“The federal government has made a choice, a decision, that was motivated by the decisions of a private company who gave a deadline not to me, not to the people of British Columbia, but to someone they characterized as stakeholders. The federal government has responded and that’s their business,” Horgan said.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson blamed the Horgan government’s actions to stall construction of the pipeline twinning for all Canadian taxpayers now having to pay for it.

But Horgan said the responsibility is now squarely on the federal government.

“I believe the finance minister of Canada is responsible for the decisions that they made today and he’ll be accountable for that.”

Horgan did say he’ll have easier access to address B.C. concerns.

“The good news though is that I now know the owner and have his phone number and I can call him with my concerns.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan addresses the media at the legislature, commenting on the federal government's plan to take over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

B.C. Premier John Horgan addresses the media at the legislature, commenting on the federal government’s plan to take over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.


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