Anti-pipeline groups appeal to high court to quash approval based on BC Liberal party donations

Kinder Morgan and oil shippers donated more than $560,000 to party, which paid Premier $50,000-a-year stipend

Democracy Watch and PIPE UP Network filed a claim in BC Supreme Court Tuesday stating that Kinder Morgan's donation of $560

Democracy Watch and PIPE UP Network filed a claim in BC Supreme Court Tuesday stating that Kinder Morgan's donation of $560

Democracy Watch and the PIPE UP Network applied to the BC Supreme Court Tuesday for an order to quash Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval by the province because of company donations to the governing BC Liberals.

In a press release issued Jan. 31, the two groups say Kinder Morgan and Trans Mountain shippers have donated $560,000 to the BC Liberals creating an apparent conflict of interest that should have prohibited Premier Christy Clark or other ministers from approving the project.

“The fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which puts our oceans and rivers at extreme risk, should be decided by people who do not have their hands in the pockets of Kinder Morgan and the TMX shippers,” said Lynn Perrin, a director of the PIPE UP Network.

PIPE UP was originally formed in Chilliwack and is an organization made up of residents of the Lower Mainland opposed to the pipeline expansion project.

Democracy Watch is an independent non-profit organization that focuses on government accountability.

In the petition filed Jan. 31, the groups claim the approximately $560,000 in payments to the BC Liberals by Kinder Morgan and oil shippers, along with the $50,000 annual stipend the party paid to Clark until recently, put her in a position of undue influence.

“The Premier was paid more than $300,000 by the Liberal Party during the six-year period that Kinder Morgan and the KMX Shippers paid more than $560,000 to the Liberal Party,” the petitioners’ claim states.

“A reasonable objective and informed observer would conclude that the Premier, the Minister of Environment and Minister of Natural Gas Development were or could likely have been influenced.”

The parties seek that the decision to approve the pipeline expansion should be quashed.

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch