Group seeks 100% Indigenous ownership of Trans Mountain pipeline

A new non-profit organization has joined several other groups in seeking indigenous ownership of the Trans Mountain Pipeline that runs from Alberta to Canada’s west coast.

Nesika Services was formed to support indigenous communities to “maximize economic opportunity” through acquiring Trans Mountain Pipeline LP. Nesika is not affiliated with any industry players and won’t own a stake itself. Instead, it’s trying to smooth the way for a deal that would see 129 indigenous groups along the pipeline own the entire asset, Nesika Chair Tony Alexis said in an email sent by the organization’s spokesperson.

The group joins other organizations, including Project Reconciliation, Natural Law Energy and the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, in seeking to give indigenous groups control of an oil pipeline that’s been owned by the Canadian government since 2018.

The Trans Mountain line is being expanded to increase its capacity to nearly 900,000 barrels a day from the current 300,000. The government bought Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Inc. after the company threatened to halt the expansion project amid fierce opposition from British Columbia, including from many indigenous groups along the route who fear the line is a threat to the environment.

Since then, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed an interest in selling a stake in the pipeline to indigenous communities once the expansion is nearer to completion.

Alexis, chief of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in Alberta, was also behind the now-dissolved Iron Coalition group, which had sought an ownership stake in the line.

“We will seek an outcome that equally values the environment and governance alongside economic benefits for our people,” Alexis said in a statement. The group wants to explore equity and revenue-sharing opportunities in Trans Mountain with no up-front capital requirements, according to the statement.

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