British Columbia

Kinder Morgan president says pipeline supporters drowned out

Kinder Morgan says it's building significant support for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project despite opposition from outspoken critics such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

'The opposition gets a louder voice at the mic,' says Ian Anderson

Kinder Morgan Canada's president Ian Anderson says he's seen a tremendous amount of support during the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion consultations. (Kinder Morgan)

Kinder Morgan says it's building significant support for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project despite opposition from outspoken critics such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Since July, a federal panel has been gathering feedback from First Nations, non-governmental organizations and citizens along the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route.

This week, the panel stopped in Vancouver where Mayor Robertson told the panel his reasons for strongly opposing the project.

Robertson said the increase in tanker traffic associated with the pipeline is not worth the risk of a major oil spill.

But Ian Anderson, the president of Kinder Morgan Canada, told Stephen Quinn on CBC's The Early Edition that he and Robertson have different philosophical views.

"Certainly, he has a right to his own opinion ... but ultimately it's only one set of facts that are relevant," Anderson said.

"We're trying to get those out."

The National Energy Board approved the proposal in May, with 157 conditions. Right now, a federal ministerial panel is conducting more public consultation on the project.

During NEB hearings on the expansion, Anderson said he thought Vancouver's evidence was not credible.

"I was involved in that process every day for almost two years ... I read the recommendations of the board in detail. It (the NEB) considered the evidence of the city of Vancouver, and in part, considered it to be not credible [and] not helpful in their decision."

Anderson said he thought the NEB process was fair.

"It wasn't some contrived process that was done in any less than vigorous fashion. It was a thorough process and all of the evidence was considered ... I don't think people should be left with the impression that it was anything less than that."

Looking ahead, there are a number of legal challenges to the NEB's approval of the pipeline expansion — from the city of Vancouver, First Nations and environmental groups.

More public support than people realize

But Anderson said there there is more support than people realize for the project, pointing out the number of agreements the company signed with various communities and nearly 40 First Nations along the pipeline route.

"Clearly, the opposition gets a louder voice at the mic, and likely more headlines. But they've heard from a tremendous number of supporters as well."

 Anderson argued that the company wasn't "buying support" and did not expect explicit support from communities in return for signing agreements.

"We're not looking for support letters from them. What we're looking to do is have them work with us to understand how the project will affect their community and what kind of impact and disruption we might cause as we construct through their community. [We want] to give something back in recognition of that."

The panel wraps up its meetings next week in Victoria. It will then produce a report for the federal government, who is expected to make a final decision in December.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the audio, click on the link labelled Kinder Morgan President Ian Anderson says there's more public support for Trans Mountain pipeline than people realize

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