Construction equipment sits near a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site off County Road 135 near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. on October 30, 2016 The First Nations community has been protesting against the Canadian government’s plans to buy Key Morgan’s pipeline, citing environmental concerns. The authorities, however, seek to build the controversial pipeline expansion at all costs.
The Athabasca Tribal Council and the Athabasca River Métis Council, which represent the interests of indigenous communities, whose traditional territory covers a large part of the pipeline corridor, have made a proposal to buy an equity stake in the pipeline.
Ron Quintal, president of the Athabasca River Métis, stressed that ownership in the pipeline is the only way to mitigate the environmental impacts of the project.
On May 29, Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, voiced the government’s plans to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and related infrastructure, estimating the purchase at C$4.5 billion ($3.45 billion). He hailed the project as "an investment in Canada’s future."
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Plans to nationalize the pipeline, however, have sparked a backlash from Canada’s indigenous people, British Columbia’s government, and environmentally concerned citizens. They have been voicing concerns over the risk of a spill that would affect resources such as fresh water and a healthy seafood supply.
Disputes over the project intensified in late May, when BC officials claimed the volume of a spill from the Trans Mountain Pipeline had been revised from 100 liters to 4,800 liters.
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The Trans Mountain expansion project is meant to increase the capacity of the pipeline, which runs between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia, from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day. The price tag for the project stands at $5.58 billion.
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