Trans Mountain Pipeline Explained

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline System, is a Canadian pipeline that transports crude and refined oil from the province of Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.

It was owned by the Canadian division of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and has been in use since 1953. In 2013, the National Energy Board approved a proposal by Kinder Morgan to expand the pipeline with a second span, built roughly parallel to the existing pipeline. The project would have expanded its capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 890,000. It would also inject $7.4 billion into Canada’s economy and see $73.5 billion in increased revenues over 20 years for Canadian producers.

The proposal attracted controversy from environmentalists and First Nations groups due to its potential environmental impact. In May 2018, the Canadian federal government, arguing that the expansion was in the national interest and attempting to stop further delays in construction, announced its intention to acquire the pipeline as a crown corporation, and seek outside investors to complete the expansion.

In August 2018, on the same day that Kinder Morgan shareholders approved the sale, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the NEB's approval of the pipeline expansion, controversially citing that the government did not sufficiently consult First Nations groups and assess its environmental impact. The court found that the Canadian government had inadequately consulted with First Nations at the final stage and that the scope of the review “unjustifiably” did not include project-related tanker traffic.