Stand.earth files response to Trans Mountain’s request to make insurance documents secret

Thursday March 04, 2021

Environmentalists call on Canadian Energy Regulator to maintain transparency on controversial pipeline

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Stand.earth filed a response today to Trans Mountain’s motion to conceal the names of its insurers, calling on the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) to step in and maintain its commitment to transparency and reject the pipeline companies request.

On February 22, Trans Mountain filed a motion with the CER seeking to keep the names of its insurers secret from the public. Currently, Trans Mountain is required to demonstrate in annual filings with the CER that they have enough liability insurance, for oil spills and other incidents, to meet regulatory requirements. 

Trans Mountain claims in their filing that a campaign by environmentalists and Indigenous People— including Stand.earth—asking insurers to cut ties with the pipeline has led to “higher insurance premiums” and “challenges in maintaining adequate insurance coverage.”

“Any decision by the Canadian Energy Regulator to reduce the transparency around the Trans Mountain pipeline will be seen by the public as a step backwards in the Trudeau government's mission to restore public confidence in the integrity and independence pipeline reviews and regulation,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director with Stand.earth. “If they have nothing to hide then this government should demand, and Trans Mountain should welcome, the highest possible level of public scrutiny.”   

Insurers have good reason to be concerned about climate change and the projects that drive it, like the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Insurance Institute of Canada’s 2020 report Climate Risks Implications for the Insurance Industry in Canada found that since the 1980s, the payouts for severe weather damage claims have doubled every 5 to 10 years. If the trend continues, it will drive profound, transformative change in Canada’s insurance industry. The average annual severe weather claims paid by insurers in Canada is expected to double over the next 10 years, increasing from $2.1 billion a year to $5 billion.

“Our campaign calling on insurance companies to drop Trans Mountain will continue” said Biggs. “Deciding to make the details of Trans Mountain’s insurance certificate secret will do nothing to address the very real problems of climate change, oil spills, or the lack of consent from Indigenous People. Regardless of what the government decides, we will continue our campaign.” 

Trans Mountain has requested that the CER make a decision on their request no later than March 15. Stand is urging the CER to uphold its commitment to transparency and ensure Trans Mountain doesn’t get to keep critical information hidden from the public eye.

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Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Canadian Communications Manager, canmedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)