CALGARY -The B.C. government is creating more uncertainty around Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain expansion project with a proposal to restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments until it conducts more spill response studies.
Provincial Environment Minister George Heyman says there needs to be more confidence in how well oil transporters are prepared to respond and fully mitigate the effects of a potential spill.
The government says it will establish an independent scientific advisory panel to make recommendations to the minister on whether, and how, heavy oils can be safely transported and cleaned up if spilled.
B.C. says it will also seek input from First Nations, industry, local governments, and environmental groups, as well as the general public over the coming months.
The restriction creates more uncertainty for the already delayed Trans Mountain expansion project, which would nearly triple the capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.
The West Coast Environmental Law association cheered the proposal as a welcome safety measure and an important warning for Kinder Morgan.