Pipe sections for the Trans Mountain pipeline are unloaded in Edson, Alta., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. North America's polarizing pipeline battles have seen many venues — from the Prime Minister's Office and the U.S. State Department to the windswept plains of Nebraska and Minnesota to judge's chambers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Trans Mountain pipeline operator wins fight to avoid naming its insurance companies

CALGARY — The Canada Energy Regulator says it has decided to grant a request by the operator of the Trans Mountain pipeline to protect the identity of its insurers in its regulatory filings.

In a ruling, the federal regulator says it accepts Trans Mountain’s argument that identifying its insurers could be expected to make it harder to get insurance at a reasonable price and prejudice its competitive position.

It says the decision applies only to the existing pipeline, not its expansion project now under construction, and says the decision is consistent with other requests from other companies for confidential treatment of insurance information.

It says 30 letters were received during a comment period in March, with 17 opposed to granting Trans Mountain’s request and 13 in favour.

One of the letters, from Green MP Elizabeth May, argues that Canada should never have bought the pipeline but that as a wholly publicly owned enterprise it has an obligation for transparency. “Citizens of this country have a right to know who our insurer is,” she said.

Trans Mountain said it saw a significant reduction in available insurance capacity in 2020 and, when it found partial replacement policies, it had to pay a significantly higher cost.

It’s CER request in February came days after Indigenous youth in Vancouver blocked the entrances of buildings housing insurance companies to demand they stop insuring the pipeline.

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