Washington Gov. Jay Inslee criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for purchasing a massive oil pipeline activists and the Democratic governor believe will create noise pollution and crude spills.
Trudeau’s deal with Houston-based Kinder Morgan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline poses risks to the killer whale population, according to Inslee. Trudeau is now fully in the arms of the fossil fuel industry, other activists claim.
“Now is not the time to increase our chances of a marine oil spill, nor is it the time to hinder our efforts to protect our already endangered orcas,” Inslee wrote Tuesday in a statement to The Seattle Times. Noise pollution from truckers near the pipeline could decimate the nearby orca population, he added.
Expanding the pipeline would increase underwater noise but also bring oil from Alberta, Canada, to the West Coast for eventual sale to Asian markets. But Inslee, a Democrat and fierce climate crusader, claimed Trudeau never gave him a fair warning before purchasing the project.
Canada’s federal government agreed to buy the pipeline system, expand the project for $4.5 billion, and work with the board of Kinder Morgan to seek a third-party buyer for the project, which Trudeau said would be “too risky” for a commercial developer to build.
“The project became too risky for a commercial entity to go forward with it; that’s what Kinder Morgan told us,” Trudeau said Tuesday during an interview with Bloomberg in Toronto “We are going to ensure that it gets built so that we can get our resources to new markets.”
Alberta supports the project, while British Columbia’s minority government controlled by the Green Party is opposed to the miles-long pipeline. Canada’s federal government holds the trump card in the dispute, but Trudeau has limited his involvement to words and not actions despite being supportive of both pipeline infrastructure and various climate fighting policies.
Canada has been historically opposed to pipeline development. TransCanada’s decision in 2017 to scrap two major energy pipelines in Canada effectively forced the country to become reliant on U.S. energy. (RELATED: Trudeau Calls Emergency Cabinet Meeting As Radical Environmentalists Threaten Pipeline)
The pipeline developer scuttled the Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipelines after Canada adopted a slew of strict pipeline regulations to address concerns about climate change. TransCanada also cited the slowdown in the oil sector as one of the reasons for the move.
The company promised a review of Energy East’s viability in September after the country’s energy regulator included in its review of pipeline approvals the potential for increased carbon emissions once the oil enters its destination. (RELATED: TransCanada Nixes Two Major Pipelines After Canada Passes Stringent Climate Regs)
Energy East pipeline was expected to deliver crude from the oil-rich area in Alberta and Saskatchewan to a marine terminal in New Brunswick, carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil a day. The Eastern Mainline project, meanwhile, included new natural gas pipeline facilities along TransCanada’s already existing facilities in southern Ontario.
Energy East’s 2,800-mile-long project could have allowed producers to transport oil to Europe — a continent largely dependent on Russia’s natural gas market for energy. The pipeline would have broadened the market for Canada’s oil exports, according to Jackie Forrest, director of research for Calgary-based ARC Energy Research Institute.
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