May pleads guilty to criminal contempt charge in Kinder Morgan protest


Calling a controversial pipeline expansion "a vital project in the national interest", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is buying the Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure that the expansion is built, despite protests from environmentalists and other groups.

Kinder Morgan has been under pressure for carrying too much debt, he added, and while the company may have been legitimately concerned about the prospect of delays, it was also presented a good opportunity to de-leverage.

Moe has repeatedly said the federal government should do more to ensure the project gets built and charged they have "no clear plan" to do so. The government is buying the existing pipeline and the scheduled twinned pipeline expansion.

Canada's oil sector has been stung in the past year as foreign energy companies retreated amid concerns about the environmental toll, high production costs and a risky regulatory regime.

Asked about what happens now, in terms of his government's court challenge, now that the pipeline is under federal jurisdiction, Horgan clarified that his government's reference case does not "speak to a specific project", but rather, it speaks to "the transportation of diluted bitumen through BC by rail or pipe".

Bloomer cautioned however that Ottawa's purchase of the project would send a negative signal to investors.

"A government that promised to end fossil fuel subsidies and to champion the clean economy should not be spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to buy out a fossil fuel expansion project", he said in an emailed statement.

Ottawa approved the project in 2016 after an environmental review, saying it was in the "national interest". "I have to say that it's galling on so many levels that it's breathtaking".

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After her arrest, May said permits issued for the twinning of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline did not respect the rights of Indigenous people. "Worst of all, the cost and risk of a $7 billion project that was going to be willingly financed entirely by a private company will now be unnecessarily transferred onto the backs of Canadian taxpayers". "This project has more certainty than ever before". The company has a market value of $5.8 billion.

"The federal government has reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and the infrastructure related to the project,"said Morneau".

Kinder Morgan last month gave Ottawa an ultimatum: Chairman Steve Kean said the company would suspend all work on the expansion project entirely if the legal issues surrounding it can not be resolved by May 31, adding that it would not continue risking shareholder funds on the project unless the clouds over it clear.

"It must be built and it will be built", Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

"It's very possible we might not have to spend a cent of it", Notley said of the financial backing, which would be payable only when oil begins to flow from the twinned pipeline.

Canada needs projects like the expansion created to triple Trans Mountain's capacity to move crude oil and refined products from the Alberta oilsands and Edmonton refining complex to the West Coast, said Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

Under the proposed federal plan, the Trans Mountain pipeline will be placed under the stewardship of a new Crown corporation and Ottawa will divest itself of the project at a later date.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May has pleaded guilty to a criminal contempt of court charge for violating a court-imposed protest-free zone at a Kinder Morgan work sit in Burnaby in March.