Open letter on further delays to Trans Mountain Expansion Project
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Dear Premier Horgan:
On behalf of the members of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) I am writing to express our dismay about your government’s intent to initiate further delay tactics regarding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled workers across Canada, and include such companies as Kiewit, PCL, Flatiron, Ledcor, JV Driver and over 100 others, some of whom are based in British Columbia and many of whom do significant energy and infrastructure projects in BC. This includes the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
Delays to this project benefit no one. Not British Columbians. Not Canadians. Not your government, which depends on the revenue from responsible natural resources extraction to pay for such critical social programs as childcare and affordable housing, not to mention schools and hospitals.
While we understand and respect your desire to protect the environment, it’s worth noting that Canada has some of the highest safety and environmental standards in the world. Oil that comes from Canada is the most socially responsible oil in the world. Taxes generated from these natural resources pay for the hospitals and schools you want to build and that our communities need.
No project in recent BC history has been more exhaustively examined. The Trans Mountain Expansion Project was allowed to move forward under 157 conditions. These conditions were set out following a three-year regulatory process and expert review of the environmental impact as well as the safety measures that go into construction and operation of pipelines. This project received the approval of the NEB and three levels of government following extensive engagement with Indigenous communities, landowners and many others. As you know, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) issued an environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project after considering the environmental assessment undertaken by the NEB, various federal and provincial reports and submissions as well as the recommendations of the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s Executive Director. Trans Mountain also participated in Transport Canada’s voluntary Technical Review Process of Marine Terminal Systems and Transshipment Sites (TERMPOL) process to address the increase in marine traffic to offload product from the Project.
As an association whose members work closely with the international investor community we are concerned about the questions being raised. Is British Columbia really “open for business?” Can decisions to move forward on important infrastructure projects be trusted? Are they subject to change at any given moment? As you know, billions of dollars are at stake. If international investors and project owners don’t know what it will take to get major projects approved and built, they will stop investing their time and money.
In our view, any further delays to this important project will result in more harm than good for the following reasons:
– It undermines the rule of law, flouts the federal regulatory approval process and shakes the confidence of international investors;
– The question of whether transporting dilbit has an increased risk to the environment has already be addressed in numerous reports;
– Delaying this already approved and vetted project prevents thousands of workers and their families, especially in rural communities, from benefiting from good paying and much needed jobs;
– It is an over-step of provincial-federal jurisdiction.
For these reasons we strongly encourage you to reconsider any proposal to stand in the way of the Trans Mountain expansion project.
Paul de Jong
Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)