On Sunday, Kinder Morgan Canada announced it will walk away from its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project if disputes between BC and Alberta are not settled by May 31.  Shutterstock photo by Art Babych.

Existing 300,000 b/d Trans Mountain pipeline carries Alberta crude to BC tidewater

On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia who are warring over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The dispute has resulted in Kinder Morgan Canada saying it will walk away from the $7.4 billion project unless the dispute can be settled by May 31.

The Trudeau government is pitted against the BC NDP government of John Horgan over the pipeline which will almost triple the capacity of the Alberta to BC tidewater pipeline.

Trudeau will interrupt a nine-day trip in South America and Europe to deal with what many believe could turn into a constitutional crisis.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister said “The Prime Minister will be returning to Ottawa following his visit to Peru to convene a meeting on Sunday, April 15 with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia to discuss next steps for moving the Trans Mountain expansion project forward.”

The Kinder Morgan project was approved by the Trudeau government in 2016.  The federal government says it has jurisdiction over the project while the British Columbia government disagrees, citing the risk of a spill.

“I wouldn’t approve major pipeline projects if I wasn’t confident they could be done safely,” said Trudeau in a tweet on Thursday.  He added “And they can be done safely because we’ve made a massive investment in protecting our oceans and coastlines – in BC and across the country.”

Energy industry analysts say that unless this dispute is settled, Canada will become a much less attractive place for foreign companies to invest their money.

Following Kinder Morgan’s announcement, Rachel Notley said that if Prime Minister Trudeau does not step in, “the reverberations of that will tear at the fabric of (Canada) for many, many years to come.”

The BC government says the matter should be referred to the Supreme Court for clarification, however, federal cabinet ministers have dismissed the notion.  They say it is clear the federal government has jurisdiction over major pipelines.

According to a Reuters’ source, Trudeau is expected to put pressure on Horgan and the BC government to drop its resistance to the project, all the while trying to avoid tougher measures that may alienate crucial BC voters.