On Tuesday, Canada approved the proposal to extend the western Canadian crude oil pipeline it purchased last year, offering a helping hand to a depressed energy sector, but vexing environmental groups. The expansion activities for the Trans-Mountain pipeline are set to resume this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference.
“This isn’t an either/or proposition. It is in Canada’s national interest to protect our environment and invest in tomorrow, while making sure people can feed their families today,” he said.
The project would triple the capacity of Trans Mountain to transfer 890,000 barrels per day to British Columbia’s Pacific coast from Alberta’s oil sands, reduce congestion on current pipelines, and direct exports away from the U.S.
Trudeau also said that the government would arrange a number of accommodations to concerns regarding the pipelines, as well as for the protection of fish habitats in British Columbia.
The government’s recent approval can be appealed in the court. Trans Mountain also needs route approvals and various permits in British Columbia, where that region’s Leftist New Democratic Party government is against the project.
“It brings too much extra risk into our community and we don’t believe the risk is worth the rewards. There’s risk of fire, explosion, chemical releases, a natural disaster for our First Nations people who use the inlet so much, and for business”, said Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby.
Further, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a prominent critic of Trudeau, said, “We will measure success not by today’s decision but by the beginning of actual construction and more importantly by the completion of the pipeline” He further added, “This is now a test for Canada to demonstrate to the rest of the world we are a safe place in which to invest”