- Canada has approved the Trans Mountain expansion project after a federal court sent it back for review last summer.
- The Canadian political party Federal Liberals took the rare step last year of buying the pipeline for C$4.5bn to help ensure the project’s survival.
- Environmentalists and some First Nations fiercely oppose Trans Mountain.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced the new approval and said that all revenues the federal government earns from the project will fund a “transition to a green economy”.
“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.
Meanwhile, British Columbia First Nations, who have fought the project, said they were considering continued legal action. The C$7.4 bn pipeline expansion project has divided opponents, who are concerned about oil spills and climate change, and supporters, who see it as a boost for Canada’s struggling energy sector – one that will help fuel the economy for years to come.
Canada ranks as the world’s fifth largest producer of oil and natural gas. The project twins the existing 1,150 km (715 mile) Trans Mountain pipeline and would triple its capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 per day. It would carry crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, British Columbia (BC) and increase oil tanker traffic in the area from five to up to 34 tankers a month.
Mr. Trudeau says the pipeline expansion would ease Canada’s reliance on the US market and help to obtain a better price for its resource. Business groups, oil industry workers, and the Alberta government all back the project. At least two indigenous groups are actively seeking an ownership stake in the project.
Construction on the project could get under way later this year.
To keep up on pipeline related news, check the Submar blog regularly, where we’ll keep you up to date.