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Prominent First Nations chief questions Trans Mountain pipeline financials

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock, at centre with green tanks, is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on November 25, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A prominent chief is warning against investing in the Trans Mountain pipeline, questions financials of the expansion

Grand Chief Phillips argues the pipeline expansion isn't as profitable as the federal government says

Leader of the BCUIC says $200M figure provided by the feds doesn't factor in things like taxes, interest, depreciation

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – First Nations hoping to get rich off of investing in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could end up disappointed, according to a prominent chief in B.C.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has published an open letter on behalf of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, questioning the project’s financials, and makes arguments as to why groups shouldn’t get involved with the controversial project.

“The pipeline is not as profitable as some people want you to believe,” the letter reads, beginning by questioning a claim from Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau made in 2018 that the project will bring in about $200 million each year.

Grand Chief Phillip points out that figure doesn’t factor in things like taxes, interest and depreciation — arguing that means the pipeline won’t be profitable.

He also notes construction costs have risen by 72 per cent, and claims those costs are likely to go up even more.

“The original cost estimate in Kinder Morgan’s application was $5.4 billion,” he writes. “In 2015, the cost increased to $6.8 billion; in 2017 it increased to $7.4 billion; and in 2018 it was $9.3 billion. An independent analysis estimates the total cost at around $15 billion.”

Grand Chief Phillip doubts the suggestion Asia is thirsty for Canadian oil, and says opposition from First Nations, including lawsuits, will continue to add cost overruns and delays.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to Trans Mountain for comment on this story.

Read Grand Chief Stewart Phillip’s letter in full: