Energy official in Canada backs pipeline

Energy official in Canada backs pipeline

Energy official in Canada backs pipeline

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is back on for potential cabinet approval following reconsideration by the National Energy Board.

The Reconsideration report concludes that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale.

"The Trans Mountain Pipeline is not in the public interest and will never be built", Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth's global program director, said in an emailed statement. The board had already made 156 others.

But with only 74 resident orcas left, those against the pipeline are vowing to stop it.

Cabinet will now have 90-days to decide whether the project should proceed but officials in Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi's office have said a final decision won't be made until consultations are complete. He faces both anger from Western Canadians over the oil industry's struggles and pressure from environmentally minded voters who do not want pipelines built. A pipeline spur from the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, in service since the 1950s, brings bitumen directly to Washington refineries, where a variety of products, including gasoline and jet fuel, are produced.

Ottawa in September directed the board to conduct a new review of its application to almost triple the capacity of Trans Mountain, which the government bought for C$4.5 billion ($3.43 billion) past year from Kinder Morgan Canada to ensure it gets built.

As oil flow increases from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, tanker traffic will balloon from about 60 vessels to more than 400 vessels annually.

Supporters of the project aren't holding their breath.

The previous Crown consultation team believed, erroneously, that it could not add more conditions to the project than those the National Energy Board (NEB) already imposed as part of its Phase 2 consultation, the court found. The Canadian Court of Appeals last August ordered the board to reconsider its approval, because it had inadequately considered effects on killer whales, and had inadequately consulted with First Nations.

It's given 16 new recommendations created to better protect marine life on the B.C. coast.

"The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from project-related marine vessels would likely be significant", the release states.

"We're pleased that we've got a recommendation to the federal cabinet, and hopefully we can see them move forward in a timely way", Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said at a press conference in Calgary.

The Reconsideration specifically examined the impacts of Project-related marine shipping related to the application of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Species at Risk Act (SARA), as per the Government's direction to the NEB in September 2018.

"If it's a vote between the tankers and the orcas, I vote for the orcas", said Chief Judy Wilson of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. Local First Nations, however, say their opposition remains steadfast.

While the federal Liberals vowed to be guided by the NEB in approaching the project, B.C. NDP MP Murray Rankin said the regulator's decision was "not acceptable" and compared its recommendations to mitigate the project's risks to "changing the deck chairs on the Titanic".

The remand consideration by the board included hearings with First Nations leaders that drew hundreds of participants from Native nations on both sides of the border. And Climate Justice Edmonton's "People on the Path" project is shifting the narrative that all Albertans are pro-pipeline by showcasing different communities' visions for a just transition in 8 foot portraits to be installed along the route. "The Salish Sea does not recognize this border".

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