On Thursday, August 10th, the Province of British Columbia made an announcement of their first steps to defend BC’s interests against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion proposal. Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director of Georgia Strait Alliance, made the following statement in response:
“The Province’s announcement on Kinder Morgan is a strong commitment to First Nations consultation and reconciliation, to BC’s coastal economy, to the people of this province, and to the Salish Sea.
The BC government is taking the impact of the Kinder Morgan pipeline seriously and the steps outlined today are a welcome change from the industry-led approach of previous BC governments.
We applaud the appointment of former BC Supreme Court judge Thomas Berger as external counsel to the Province. He has over 40 years’ experience dealing with First Nations and environmental issues, and has a reputation for thoroughness and thoughtfulness. Georgia Strait Alliance is encouraged that the government seeks to intervene in the federal court case against the Kinder Morgan approval, and looks forward to the response on the case that the Squamish Nation has brought against the BC government, because consultations with First Nations was insufficient.
This isn’t a final victory over the pipeline proposal, but it makes the path forward for Kinder Morgan and their investors far more complex, adding to the fact that five of eight of the company’s workplans were not accepted by the BC Environmental Assessment Office. Today’s announcement means there is no way Kinder Morgan will start construction this year or any time soon.
The project had been fought by impacted First Nations, opposed by concerned citizens, and rejected by voters and now the Province. It cannot proceed.”