Alberta Senator seeks Supreme Court ruling on Kinder Morgan pipeline dispute

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Alberta-based Senator Doug Black is urging the Canadian federal government to refer the dispute over Kinder Morgan Canada’s [KML-TSX] stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion directly to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The move comes just two weeks after Senator Black introduced Bill S-245 the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Act in the Senate. In a press release on February 16, 2018, he said his aim is to declare that the pipeline expansion project is in the national interest and should proceed for that reason.

“Not having access to energy markets is costing Canada billions of dollars and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, and Burnaby, B.C.,  is a critical solution to this problem,” he said.

That is because it was proposed in requests from oil companies to help them reach new markets by expanding the capacity of North America’s only pipeline with access to the West Coast of Canada.

However, the expansion continues to face political hurdles after British Columbia’s NDP government recently served notice that it would temporarily ban expanded shipments of bitumen on the Trans Mountain pipeline. The move prompted the Alberta government to retaliate by banning wine imports from B.C.

Late last week, B.C. Premier John Horgan withdrew the threat to block Alberta’s bitumen, saying that instead government lawyers will ask the courts for a ruling on whether British Columbia has the legal authority to make such a move. Alberta responded by lifting the ban of B.C. wine imports.

On Monday, Senator Black weighed in on the dispute saying he is now calling on Ottawa to immediately refer his bill and the constitutional question regarding Ottawa’s ability to regulate the Trans Mountain pipeline to the Supreme Court of Canada for an expedited hearing.

“Seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada can move the Trans Mountain project forward,” he said. “The Government of Canada should act now.”

Senator Black said the project has been rigorously reviewed by the National Energy Board (NEB) after an exhaustive hearing process and a thorough review of facts.

“It is costing Canada billions of dollars by not having access to energy markets and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline is a critical part of a solution to stop this financial drain,” said the Senator. “I recognize there are parties that have concerns about this project but their day in court was provided through the NEB process.”

Senator Black has spent many years observing and understanding Canada’s energy. He recognizes there is a delicate balance by how we use energy today and how we will tomorrow. He has concluded that carbon energy remains a critical part of the transition pathway to Canada’s energy future. Capturing the value of today’s energy will benefit the long-term success of Canada for future generations.

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