Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets government's go-ahead

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets government's go-ahead

A British Columbia First Nation is promising a legal challenge of the federal government's decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion while the premier says his government will continue to defend the province's lands and waters.

Ottawa has OKed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, bogged down by delays due to concerns over oil spills in coastal waters and opposition from indigenous people living in its path.

Supporters say it is a vital conduit to help Canadian oil reach higher-priced worldwide markets, but opponents including environmental and indigenous groups and some municipalities along the route argue the risk of a spill is too great.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday reapproved the expansion, cheering the oil industry but angering environmental groups.

The undertaking will still require a licence to proceed from the National Energy Board, he said, and permits to return the project's status back to where it was when the Federal Court of Appeal ruled last August more work was needed in ensuring marine protection and Indigenous consultation.

Expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to the Vancouver, B.C., area would also increase tanker traffic in Washington waters.


"The best way for us to deal with people's anxiety and skepticism is to get on with our work".

"This second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline isn't a victory to celebrate, it's just another step in a process that has, frankly, taken too long", said Kenney.

Economist Robert Mansell with the University of Calgary says the pipeline will have a substantial impact on the economy.

"This announcement represents cynicism and hypocrisy at a level that is quite breathtaking", May said in a statement, citing the Liberal motion passed Monday in the Commons declaring climate change a national emergency. Last May, the Trudeau Liberals paid C$4.5 billion to Kinder Morgan Canada (TSX:KML) to purchase the project, a move critics viewed as foolhardy and a waste of taxpayers' money. The federal government is promising to take all profits from the pipeline and spend it on transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Although the pipeline could result in an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, Trudeau today framed the pipeline project as necessary to get Canadian oil to market instead of a choice between oil and gas and fighting climate change.

"The question is when will it get built", Scheer said.


Ottawa estimates that additional corporate income tax revenues from the project could generate C$500 million per year once the project has been completed.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation says it also remains opposed to the project and will appeal the approval, saying their concerns were unaddressed by the federal government. "We would also anticipate that reaching surety in construction of TMX would provide oil sand producers confidence to commence re-investing in production growth, given the capital constrained budgets most companies are now operating under", Goldman analysts said.

The B.C. government also plans to appeal a recent British Columbia Appeal Court ruling that the provincial government can not restrict the flow of oil on pipelines that cross provincial boundaries.

From Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia they speak to oil workers and First Nation activists, politicians and indigenous leaders, those who are vocal supporters and those who have set up barricades and blocked pipeline construction.

"I think the champagne corks will come out if there's a feeling there won't be legal challenges that can stop the pipeline from being built", he said.


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