Finance Minister Bill Morneau addresses an Economic Club of Canada breakfast in Calgary, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. The Liberal government expects to get $500 million a year out of the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline and is promising to spend it all on cleaner sources of energy and projects that pull carbon out of the atmosphere. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Trans Mountain pipeline could fund $500M a year in clean energy projects: Liberals

The Liberal government bought the existing pipeline for $4.5 billion in 2018

The Liberal government expects to get $500 million a year out of the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline and is promising to spend it all on cleaner sources of energy and projects that pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau told The Canadian Press in an interview this week that the expanded pipeline is not fodder for negotiating with other parties in the minority government. Rather, he said, it is a crucial piece of the puzzle of financing Canada’s transition to a clean energy economy.

“We purchased it for a reason,” said Morneau. ”We now see how it can help us accelerate our clean energy transition by putting any revenues that we get from it into a transition to clean energy. We think that is the best way we can move forward in our current context.”

The Liberal government bought the existing pipeline for $4.5 billion in 2018, in a bid to overcome the opposition of the British Columbia government to the expansion.

Federally, the two parties with the most in common with the Liberals on climate change both think the expansion should be cancelled. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has enough seats to support the Liberals through any confidence votes, wants tougher climate action but has stopped short of using the pipeline as a line in the sand.

He has suggested that ship has effectively sailed.

Morneau said construction on the pipeline is underway and the decision to go forward has been made, which means there is really no way to use it as a bargaining chip in the minority government.

“My expectation is that we have much common ground between the other parties that have been elected to the next Parliament,” said Morneau.

“We will be seeking consensus on how we can move forward on that common ground. This project we’ve already moved forward on. It’s one that we’ve said that we’re moving forward on, we’ve actually already gone through that process.”

READ MORE: Climate and pipeline are priorities after election: Trudeau

Construction on the expansion is supposed to be done by the middle of 2022. The Liberal platform forecasted taking revenues of $125 million from Trans Mountain Canada in 2021-22 and then $500 million in each of the next two years.

Eventually Morneau said the plan is to sell it back to the private sector and all of the revenues from the sale will then go to clean energy development and other climate change action projects.

The one specific promise the Liberals made that they connected to pipeline revenues was a $300-million annual fund for natural climate solutions including tree planting, as well as conservation and restoration of forests, grasslands, agricultural lands and coastal areas.

Construction on the pipeline was halted in September 2018, after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned federal approval citing insufficient environmental and Indigenous consultations.

Cabinet undertook new rounds of both and approved the expansion a second time in June.

Construction on the pipeline then resumed in August, starting with work on the marine terminals in British Columbia and pumping stations in Alberta. The first 50 km of actual pipeline will start being laid in the Edmonton area shortly, a spokesperson for Trans Mountain Canada said Wednesday.

Thus far, more than 2,200 workers have been hired.

The pipeline runs from a terminal east of Edmonton to a marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The expansion will see a second pipeline built roughly parallel to the first that can carry almost twice as much crude oil every day.

There is however a new federal court challenge underway from Indigenous communities who argued the secondary consultation process undertaken by the government earlier this year was a sham.

READ MORE: Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

READ MORE: Federal appeals court approves six First Nations challenges of Trans Mountain

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New library to be built in downtown Kaslo

The building will cost $3 million

Nelson lacks enough supporting housing to meet homeless demand: report

The annual study shows permanent shelter is needed for people experiencing homelessness

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Nelson outdoor photo exhibit reflects physically distanced life

Portraits of a Pandemic runs until Oct. 15 at Lakeside Park

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read