Saturday, April 8, 2017
It's a Done Deal
Agreement couched in money, jobs and environmental strings
BC Gov't caucus/Voice file photo
Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness (l to r), Wayne Massey, Premeir Chritsy Clark and Chilliwack proper MLA John Martin. Voice photo.
he provincial government and Trans Mountain announced a final benefits agreement today that will see B.C. workers having priority for construction jobs resulting from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project.
The agreement also provides up to $1 billion for the Province for projects that protect the environment and benefit communities.
“This is an unprecedented agreement with a private company that will see more jobs and economic activity, while ensuring B.C.’s communities benefit and our environment is protected,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development.
The initial benefits agreement was announced in January 2017 when the provincial government announced its five conditions had been met by Trans Mountain, allowing for the Province’s support for the pipeline project.
The agreement includes a “British Columbians First” hiring and contracting policy for project work within B.C. Trans Mountain and its subcontractors will endeavour to hire locally and contract with B.C. qualified and competitive businesses and First Nations first for building, operating and maintaining the pipeline. The project is expected to generate more than 75,000 person years of employment.
“Trans Mountain is pleased to reach a final negotiated agreement with B.C. that will help ensure our priorities of environmental protection and prosperity for communities reach every corner of the province. The B.C. Clean Communities Program is one of the many long-term benefits the project will bring in addition to the jobs and economic activity the pipeline will generate," said an Ian Anderson, president, Kinder Morgan Canada.
As well, B.C. will receive between $25 million and $50 million annually for the first 20 years of the agreement, and will receive more revenues if the life of project extends beyond 20 years. Above a $25 million guaranteed amount, the actual amount paid to the Province each year up to a $50 million maximum will depend on whether the expanded pipeline is operating at full capacity.
Revenues from the Trans Mountain expansion will be dedicated to the new BC Clean Communities program for community based projects, such as purchasing land for parks, restoring historic sites, cleaning up orphaned sites or spills where the polluter is unknown, restoring habitat, controlling invasive species, cleaning up beaches, rivers or public waterfront property, establishing and promoting recycling programs in small, rural communities or marine conservation and monitoring.
“Workers and families in the Nicola Valley will be first in line for the jobs created by this project. Our government has worked with Kinder Morgan to ensure we get the economic benefits, while protecting our treasured natural environment,” Jackie Tegart, Fraser-Nicola MLA
In May 2016, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Trans Mountain project with 157 conditions. B.C.'s environmental assessment certificate added another 37 conditions to further protect wetlands, wildlife habitat and caribou and grizzly populations. In November 2016, the Trudeau government gave federal approval for the project, which will boost B.C.'s GDP by $19.1 billion during construction and operations over 20 years and generate over $2.2 billion in tax revenue for provincial and local governments.