Tsleil-Waututh Nation says the economic viability of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is a delusion
səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/Tsleil-Waututh Territory, February 22, 2022 – Announced today, Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Sacred Trust Initiative is calling the economic viability of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project a delusion, following a construction cost update from Trans Mountain this past Friday February 18th. The estimated cost is now $21.4 billion. This represents a 4-fold increase in cost since the project was purchased by Canada in 2018 for $4.5 billion. Shortly after, the Minister of Finance announced that the federal government would not provide any additional public funding for the embattled pipeline project.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project continues to infringe upon the rights, title, and interests of Tsleil-Waututh Nation. It will exacerbate climate change, critically threaten the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, and put at risk the ability for future generations of Tsleil-Waututh people to thrive. Given the absurd cost and great risk, Tsleil-Waututh requires a clear and full economic assessment to evaluate and understand the economic picture that is being used to justify this infringement on our rights and title and which puts our community at such risk. We have been asking for this throughout the NEB, CER and consultation processes without meaningful responses.
The commercial viability of this Project has been tenuous for years and has only gotten weaker as project costs have ballooned beyond reason and as climate change becomes a reality.
The federal government has committed to investing every dollar earned from the Project into clean energy projects. What money will be earned from a project that will be obsolete in 20 years and needs to recover 21.4 billion dollars just to break even? The Ministry of Finance appears to be shifting its initial commitment, now stating there is “a potential for positive return” (emphasis ours). It is noteworthy that Canada has further announced it will not provide any additional public funding on this Project, and will instead look for a third party to take on added costs. This will only increase the ultimate cost of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project construction.
The economic rationale for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion is based on stale-dated assumptions reliant on a world of climate inaction. Much has changed in the last 8 years since the Project was first proposed. In light of these significant changes to the base cost of the Project, it is imperative that the true financial picture be critically examined.
In our view, the new cost estimate is a material change in circumstances that warrants an updated review by Canada and the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) into Trans Mountain’s economic viability. Tsleil-Waututh members deserve to understand the economic rationale that federal representatives have claimed justifies this incursion on our territory and lives.
Canadians deserve to know if this Project is worth the cost of construction and worth the impact on the climate. This Project continues to make no sense: it is not economically viable, it poses too great a risk for too little return, and it is time for Canada to halt its expansion.
Rueben George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation member and Sacred Trust Spokesperson:
“Canada’s announcement that Project costs have ballooned out of control demonstrates that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion cannot be justified. Costs have nearly doubled in two years, resulting in a current cost estimate approaching $25 billion. This bad business case caused Kinder Morgan to walk in 2018, and now Canada is cutting off further financial support. The writing is on the wall: this Project poses a risk to whoever touches it. For anyone thinking of buying this project, it doesn’t take much due diligence to see that TMX will become a stranded asset, leaving the owners with significant liability.”
Tsleil-Waututh Nation Councillor Charlene Aleck:
“Canada’s cost update on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion affirms what Tsleil-Waututh’s analyses have always demonstrated: the risk is too great to accept, environmentally, culturally, and economically. Canadians deserve to know if this Project is worth the cost of construction and worth its impacts, not least of all on the climate. Canada claimed the economics justify this incursion on Tsleil-Waututh’s rights, territory, and lives. This remains unacceptable. Canada must cut its losses and cancel TMX.”
TWN Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Tsleil-Waututh Nation
Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a Coast Salish Nation whose territory centres around Burrard Inlet in the greater Vancouver region. Tsleil-Waututh have a Sacred Trust, a responsibility, to care for and restore traditional territory to its former state. Today, Tsleil-Waututh is more than 600 people strong and growing. The community draws on knowledge from ancestors to remedy past wrongs, reclaim territory and traditions, and advance into a bright future. For more information on the Tsleil-Waututh Nation visit twnation.ca
About the Sacred Trust Initiative
The Sacred Trust is an initiative of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN). Its mandate is to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. The federal and provincial governments recently approved the project without TWN’s consent. The Sacred Trust Initiative is grounded in TWN’s culture, spirituality, and law. TWN has a sacred, legal obligation to protect, defend, and steward the water, land, air, and resources in their territory. To learn more about the Sacred Trust Initiative, visit twnsacredtrust.ca