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'Anyone Surprised?' Kinder Morgan Pipeline Leak Two Days Before Trudeau Buyout Was 48 Times Larger Than First Reported

"With accuracy like that, we should all be very, very worried."

Thousands march in opposition to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion. (Photo: MeanwhileinCana/Twitter)

Just two days before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would purchase Kinder Morgan's faltering and widely opposed Trans Mountain pipeline, British Columbia's Ministry of Environment said 100 liters of crude oil had leaked at a Kinder Morgan pipeline pump station north of Kamloops—but the company initially refused to confirm the severity of the spill.

On Saturday, with its bailout from the Canadian taxpayer confirmed by Trudeau, Kinder Morgan declared after an investigation that, actually, 4,800 liters of crude oil had leaked during the May 27 spill—48 times more crude than first reported.

While the Ministry of Environment said no waterways were affected by the leak, environmentalists and Canadian members of parliament highlighted the leak as a telling example of the dangers pipelines pose to people and the environment and continued denouncing Trudeau's buyout.

Since its inception, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion project has faced fierce and widespread grassroots opposition across Canada as well as legal challenges that have brought the projection's completion into question.

As Common Dreams reported, Trudeau announced late last month that his government would buy the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion, a move environmentalists and Indigenous leaders denounced as an act of "immense moral cowardice" that betrayed the prime minister's rhetorical commitments to bold climate action.

Trudeau's decision has since sparked opposition rallies nationwide, with green groups arguing that the billions of taxpayer money being used to rescue a leak-prone, "climate-destroying" pipeline should be spent on healthcare, education, and a just transition to a sustainable energy system.

"This could cost $15 to $20 billion all told," Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate justice campaigner at Council of Canadians, said at a demonstration outside of the Ottawa office of Liberal MP Catherine McKenna last week. "That is money that could solve the drinking water crisis in Canada on First Nations reserves. That is money that could halve tuition fees across the country. Think about the affordable housing that we could achieve with that money...That is where this money should be going."

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