A pipeline that would carry bitumen from the Edmonton area to Burnaby, B.C. has been given support by the National Energy Board (NEB)
The NEB has recommended the federal government approve the contentious $6.8 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but also gave 157 conditions that centre on engineering, safety, environmental, and emergency preparedness.
“On the whole, taking into account all evidence in the hearing, considering all relevant factors, and give that there are considerable benefits nationally, regionally, and locally, the board found that the benefits of the project would outweigh the residual burdens,” NEB Chief Environment Officer, Dr. Robert Steedman said. “Accordingly, the board concludes that the project is in the Canadian public interest.”
— NEB Canada (@NEBCanada) May 19, 2016
— Trans Mountain (@TransMtn) May 19, 2016
Dr. Steedman says the project is in the public interest due to the number of important benefits to Canada.
“Increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil, thousands of construction jobs, and hundreds of long term jobs directly related to the project across Canada. The development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses, considerable benefit from direct spending on pipeline materials within Canada, and considerable government revenues from the project.”
The decision was welcomed by the provincial government with Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd saying the recommendation fits a responsible national approach to energy infrastructure.
“Canada is balancing the need for much stronger action on climate change with the need to pay for that action, by sustainably developing our natural resources – including our energy resources,” McCuaig-Boyd said in a release. “Finding this balance will create jobs and economic prosperity, and help Canada overcome the current commodity price shock.”
The decision comes after a two-year debate that cost millions, galvanized aboriginal and environmental protests, and resulted in mass arrests, and marks passing a major hurdle. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is set to make a final decision by the end of the year, and Wildrose leader Brian Jean says the federal government needs to stop “creating further red tape and delays” and urged the PM to sign off on the deal.
“Today’s findings show what Wildrose has always said, that the arms-length and scientific review process introduced by the former government remains the most effective and exhaustive in the western world,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said in a release. “I want to thank the experts for all their efforts on this application, but there is still much work to be done for this pipeline to become a reality. We need the federal Liberal government, along with other provincial and municipal politicians, to stop delaying and undermining the confidence in this independent process and back these critical projects that will grow our economy.”
Close to twenty First Nations groups across B.C., environmentalists and the City of Vancouver are all still opposing the expansion of the pipeline.
Greenpeace Canada’s Mike Hudema says Canada can’t have it both ways, by expanding the pipeline and trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as Canada promised in Paris during the Climate Change Talks.
“Also when we’re talking about the economy, this pipeline won’t be a major job creator,” says Hudema. “Greenpeace just released a report a few weeks ago showing how the Alberta government could create over 140,000 jobs through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation. Many of those jobs have the same skill-set that many workers, who are out of work, currently have.”
If approved, Kinder Morgan would be permitted to triple the capacity of the pipeline. (kb/canadian press)