Kinder Morgan announcement 'doesn't change anything,' May says
The day after Kinder Morgan announced it was pumping the brakes on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Green Leader Elizabeth May called on the project's opponents to continue the fight.
May spoke with reporters Monday after appearing at B.C. Supreme Court, where she's charged with contempt for joining an illegal protest outside the energy infrastructure company's Burnaby terminal.
While the weekend’s development left many protesters feeling energized and hopeful that the expansion project would be abandoned, May urged them to remain vigilant.
"The Kinder Morgan announcement yesterday doesn't change anything," May said. "Everybody has to stay alert and recognize that it's primarily a political ploy to increase pressure on (B.C. Premier) John Horgan."
The company revealed Sunday it was freezing non-essential spending on the $7.4 billion project, blaming the B.C. government’s outspoken opposition for creating uncertainty around its future.
The province is currently asking the courts to clarify whether it has the right to restrict diluted bitumen shipments to its coast on environmental grounds, a constitutional question that would have wide-ranging impacts.
That’s led to growing friction with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and other Trans Mountain supporters across Canada, who have suggested the pipeline expansion would benefit the country as a whole.
But May insisted the risks outweigh the benefits, and argued there are better ways to utilize bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands.
"We have a strong, factual case that this project is not in the national interest, that British Columbians are not selfishly holding up something that would help all Canada," she told reporters.
Rather than ship diluted bitumen overseas, May argued Canada would be better off creating the infrastructure to refine Alberta's bitumen into fuel and petroleum products for use at home.
"There is a role for maintaining bitumen in Alberta and creating jobs in Alberta," she said. "You could brand (refined fuel) Fort Mac Strong. There's not a Canadian that wouldn't rather put Fort Mac Strong in their gas tank than buying from Venezuela and Khazakstan and Nigeria."
May said she once pitched the idea to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, but she wasn't interested.
"She said we need a pipeline," May said.
The Green Leader told reporters she wouldn't speak to the contempt charge against her out of respect for the court process.