Kinder Morgan filings have Trans Mountain Pipeline costing Canadian government an additional $1.5 billion

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Canadian Press service:Kinder Morgan Canada documents say expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline could cost the federal government an additional $1.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) beyond the company’s original construction estimate, and will take another year to complete.The figure is included in documents Kinder Morgan Canada filed Tuesday with the United States Security and Exchange Commission related to the company’s plan to sell the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.Kinder Morgan has long said it would cost $7.4 billion to build a second pipeline parallel to the first in order to triple its capacity, but the financial documents present a number of different construction cost scenarios, with the highest one being $9.3 billion.The documents also suggest construction won’t be complete until December 2021 — a full year beyond its previous projection of December 2020.Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been reluctant to talk about how much more it will cost to build the pipeline while the deal is being finalized.Robyn Allan, an independent economist and former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, said Kinder Morgan wouldn’t evaluate the fairness of the sale based on numbers that have no bearing on reality.Allan, who said she has expertise on a number of multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects, believes that, in the end, $9.3 billion will seem like a steal compared to the final price tag.“This is the least it’s going to cost,” said Allan.Allan said the only detailed information Canadians have about the particulars of the sale is due to investor laws in the United States and Canada that require Kinder Morgan to file documents outlining the specifics of the deal. Since taxpayers are the shareholders of the project now, she said Canadians deserve the same level of disclosure from Ottawa and they aren’t getting it.More: Cost to twin Trans Mountain pipeline could go $1.9B higher, Kinder Morgan says Kinder Morgan filings have Trans Mountain Pipeline costing Canadian government an additional $1.5 billionlast_img read more

Court system survives both political and natural storms

first_img Court system survives both political and natural storms Chief warns the courts still face many challenges, including political attacks on judicial independence Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Storms — both political and natural — rocked Florida’s court system in the past year, but the judicial system survived the onslaughts and is stronger than ever.Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Pariente brought that message in her state of the judiciary address at the Judicial Luncheon during the Bar’s Annual Meeting last month. But she also warned the court system still faces many challenges, including political attacks on judicial independence.Primary in the court’s accomplishments was seeing that adequate funding for the courts was provided by the legislature as it carried out Revision 7 to Article V. That 1998 constitutional amendment mandated that the state take over more funding of the trial courts from the counties by July 1, 2004.“The courts of Florida were open on July 1, 2004, to the citizens of our state,” Pariente said. “It was no mean feat.”Revision 7 meant the state courts tripled the number of employees on the payroll and doubled the state’s budget support for the trial courts, she said. The smooth transition, she said, was due to work by her two predecessors as chief justice, Justices Harry Lee Anstead and Charles Wells, the Trial Court Budget Commission, and key legislators.The result was citizens saw no change in court services and some parts of the state, notably smaller counties where local court funding has been tight, actually saw services improve. And that, the chief justice said, is a goal of Revision 7.“The ability to deliver justice should not depend on what part of the state someone lives in,” she said. “Someday we will be able to fill the promise for Revision 7, which is equal justice for all Floridians.”But while the courts weathered the tempests of Revision 7 without a hitch, they weren’t so lucky with the four hurricanes that battered the state last summer. Every court in the state was closed at least one day, Pariente said, either as a precaution as storms approached or in the aftermath to deal with damage.Judges and court staff responded magnificently, she said, working in makeshift facilities and often without air-conditioning or even electricity to keep courts running.The lessons will be incorporated in a statewide emergency plan for the courts, Pariente said, which has been underway since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Politically, the courts faced several challenges, including a general attack on the judiciary.“We must acknowledge the growing, insidious attacks nationwide on judicial independence,” the chief justice said. She added the typical tactic is for those who don’t like a particular court ruling to accuse the judge or judges of judicial activism, and reached a peak with the Terri Schiavo case. But the courts have responded.“The judicial branch from the U.S. Supreme Court all the way down to the bench in Pinellas County [where the Schiavo case originated], refused to let the constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and checks and balances be undermined. I am proud of every single judge who honored their oath of office,” Pariente said.She noted that immediate past Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson, just prior to Pariente’s speech, presented Sixth Circuit Judge George Greer, who presided over the Schiavo case, with a special president’s award for his courage. (Greer was given a standing ovation by those at the lunch.)“What we honor in Judge Greer is not whether we agreed with Judge Greer’s decision or disagreed. What we honor is that Judge Greer remained steadfast even in the face of protests, attacks, and death threats and made decisions based on his conscientious assessment of the law, as passed by the legislature. . . , the facts as litigated over a several year period, and controlling precedent,” Pariente said.She also praised Johnson’s creation of the Bar’s Judicial Independence Committee to help in educating the public and defending the judiciary.The Supreme Court has held judicial institutes to educate business and legislative leaders about the importance of the court system and a fair and independent judiciary, she said. And although there were attempts in the state legislature to reduce or remove the Supreme Court’s authority to write procedural rules, those were defeated.Pariente attributed that and other successes to the leadership of House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon.The Supreme Court asked for 110 new judges earlier this year, and “this year the legislature funded 55 new judges, just about half of what the court recommended, but with a promise. . . an unofficial promise, of an additional 55 judges in the coming year,” Pariente said.Even though that was not the full certification, the 55 new judges, who will come on board by early next year, “are the single largest single increase in judges since Article V was created in 1973,” she said. “It will go a long way to alleviate the emergency our trial courts face in keeping their dockets current.”While grateful for the new judges, Pariente said the courts could not be satisfied with the “openly political” decision not to fund any of the requested new circuit and county judges in the 20th circuit, which resulted from a dispute between Senate and House officials. “I hope that will be corrected next year,” she added.The chief justice said she has several goals for the remaining year of her term. One is to continue to push for the creation of unified family courts throughout the state, which can handle all parts of a family’s legal problems from divorce through delinquency.“We can help ensure that the family and the child do not become repeat customers of the legal system by having escalating legal problems which destroy their lives and those of others,” Pariente said. “I remain committed to the unified family court. . . and I hope by the end of my term I can report that all circuits are on board.”The courts have also embarked on a system-wide pay and classification study due to the difficulty in retaining well-qualified employees because of low pay. “We must continue to agitate for pay commensurate with our employees’ excellent abilities,” she said.And the courts are in need of technological improvements that will enable judges and staff to electronically access information in other state computers. “That may not have a whole lot of sex appeal, but statewide we are in dire need of an integrated information system for the courts,” Pariente said. “It is unacceptable that a judge cannot access all the information the state has in its computers because they cannot talk to each other.”The legislature this year funded the judicial inquiry system, which will be linking judges to that information, she said. It is being implemented by the Article V Technology Board, headed by Second Circuit Chief Judge Charles Francis.Pariente said she nicknamed the project “Charlie’s baby” in Francis’ honor, adding, “If you want to know anything about how [the computers] are going to end up talking with each other, ask Charlie. That’s what I do.”“In concluding, our justice system is in good health,” the chief justice said. “I’ve never been prouder of the justice system and our attorneys of Florida who make it strong. I consider myself fortunate to be one of you, because the rights that we protect every day under the rule of law are not the rights of judges, not the rights of attorneys, but they are the rights of all Floridians and the rights of American people. We, all of us, are merely the guardians of those sacred rights, protecting and defending the Constitution, and preserving the rule of law.” July 15, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Court system survives both political and natural stormslast_img read more