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BC NDP wavers on Kinder Morgan pipeline

Lisa Descary & Bradley Hughes

August 3, 2017

With the election of the Green-NDP provincial government in BC, climate activists across the province celebrated what they hoped would be the beginning of the end for the hated Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project (KMX). As soon as he took office, premier-elect John Horgan explained that the Green-NDP government would “immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

But the NDP looked like it was immediately backing down on its opposition. In the mandate letter to the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, Premier Horgan wrote, “I expect that you will make substantive progress on the following priorities:” In that list was the requirement to, “Employ every tool available to defend B.C.'s interests in the face of the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.” Is the NDP resigned to the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

In the same interview before becoming Premier, John Horgan said, “We’re going to be consulting with the attorney general’s ministry, as well as energy and environment, to make sure permitting and other issues are exhaustively reviewed.” Barely a week after taking office, the new Environment minister announced that the province would not use the permitting process to hold up construction of the pipeline. Instead he said that they would evaluate provincial permit applications for the project “in an appropriate and fair manner.” This is because, “There’s no point trying to exercise authority that we don’t have [in refusing to issue permits] because that is capricious, exceeding our jurisdiction and, ultimately, that won’t be effective.”

The real opposition

Refusing to grant construction permits might be overturned in the courts and be an expensive tactic for the government, but every delay to the project makes it harder for the pipeline to go ahead and gives us all more time to organize opposition. We need a government that will use every means at its disposal to stop this project.

We need a government with the resolution of the many outside of the NDP caucus who oppose the pipeline. In November of 2014, 120 people were arrested for blocking exploratory work by Kinder Morgan on Burnaby Mountain. Because of the strength of the opposition, those charges were dropped and the company was chased of the mountain.

Since then over 21,000 people have signed the Coast Protector Pledge, pledging, "With our voice, in the courts or the streets, on the water or the land. Whatever it takes, we will stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion." This is the opposition that can stop Kinder Morgan.

Join the September 9 march and rally, “Kinder Morgan, we still say no!”

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