Follow Us! Like Our Page!

TWN applies to be intervenor in Trans Mountain’s interim tolling application to CER – tolls to cover less than half (48%) of the cost of construction

Press Release

June 29, 2023

TWN has applied to be an intervenor in the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) process for Trans Mountain’s interim tolling application. The application applies a toll methodology approved by the NEB in 2013 to the current $30.9 billion budget and shows that the tolls will cover less than half (48%) of the cost of construction. This leaves the other 52%, about $16.2 billion for Trans Mountain’s owners, the Canadian public, to absorb as a loss.

The tolls severely compromise Trans Mountain’s ability to meet its financial obligations, including repaying the $17 billion borrowed from the Canada Account, and the $13 billion syndicated bank loan, backed by a federal government guarantee. The tolls also hamper Trans Mountain’s ability to adequately fund maintenance, integrity and safety of the Trans Mountain pipeline system, increasing the likelihood of a catastrophic oil spill.

When TMX was re-approved in 2019, the NEB and CER were supposed to balance the economic benefits with the burdens of TMX, including the infringement of TWN and other First Nations’ rights, the risk of oil spills on land and water, the climate impacts, and risk of extinction of the Southern Resident Killer Whales and other endangered species. At the time, the CER claimed that the economic benefits justified these burdens. This tolling application confirms that the economic benefits and viability no longer exist, and Trans Mountain (and its owners, the Canadian public) will lose at least $16.2 billion in project costs. Approving these tolls will also distort the oil shipping market that the CER is meant to be protecting by entrenching a 52% subsidy which TMX’s competitors do not enjoy.

TWN’s continued engagement in these regulatory processes arises from our sacred duty to steward and protect our territory. This includes ensuring that the CER fulfills its function of upholding the public interest and ensuring that pipeline operators are capable of meeting pipeline safety, integrity, maintenance and abandonment costs through their rate structure. Trans Mountain’s requirement to continue to maintain the integrity of the pipeline could be significantly compromised if the tolls are insufficient to ensure that Trans Mountain is profitable and financially viable. Trans Mountain’s viability may be compromised to the point that it is unclear to TWN if Trans Mountain will be able to cover costs of abandonment and restoration, let alone maintenance and oil spill cleanup. At the same time, climate related risks and maintenance from floods, fires, and landslides are an increasing threat to the pipeline.

In light of these factors, Tsleil-Waututh Nation has proposed to the CER that the interim toll application should be rejected following a thorough hearing on the basis that tolls that collect only 48% of costs are clearly unjust and unreasonable. This unusual and unprecedented situation is dramatically different from what could have been imagined in 2013. The NEB is now the CER. Trans Mountain was sold by Kinder Morgan to the Canadian public. And costs have increased by 472%. For more detailed explanation on these issues, please read our letter here, submitted to the CER on Friday June 23, 2023.

Incredulously, the oil shippers have written to the CER complaining that the tolls are too high, meaning that they want a more subsidized pipeline, paid for by Canadians, while they continue to report record profits.

The CER will determine the hearing process in the coming weeks, including whether TWN can participate as an intervenor. Stay tuned for updates.



NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More