Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has officially approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in a vote on Tuesday.
The controversial decision comes after the federal government’s initial approval of the project was overruled by a Federal Court of Appeal ruling which found that there was not sufficient consultation with Indigenous groups.
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This time around, Trudeau and his cabinet expressed that they have now done their due diligence and taken the concerns of Indigenous communities into account before announcing the approval of the expansion project.
The expansion twins an existing pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby and will add 590,000 barrels of daily shipping capacity.
Trudeau’s government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion at the end of May 2018.
Today’s approval was welcomed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney who issued a message on Twitter just minutes after its announcement.
“The Government of Alberta appreciates the second federal cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion,” writes Kenney.
“We need to get a fair price for our country’s energy to create good jobs & pay for public services.”
The Government of Alberta appreciates the second federal cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
We need to get a fair price for our country’s energy to create good jobs & pay for public services.
Approval is not construction. So now let’s get it built!
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) June 18, 2019
Meanwhile, BC Premier John Horgan expressed firm disapproval upon hearing the news.
“We are disappointed that the federal government has re-approved a project that poses great risks to our coast, our environment and our economy,” tweets Horgan.
Our government has a responsibility to protect the interests of British Columbians and that’s what we’ve been doing.
We will continue to defend our environment, our coast, and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on them.
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) June 18, 2019
However, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson shares Kenney’s opinion on the subject.
“Today’s decision by the federal government sends a clear message to John Horgan and the NDP: The time for obstruction is over – their government needs to get out of the way and support this project,” writes Wilkinson.
“While John Horgan and the NDP choose to pick fights with Alberta and Canada and spend taxpayer money on expensive court cases to block the pipeline, we will continue to stand up for B.C. communities and make sure our province shares in the billions of dollars in revenue this project will generate.”
While reports say construction could begin later this year, the project still requires numerous permits and approvals before it can break ground.
Trudeau announced the TMX expansion approval just hours after the House of Commons passed a motion to declare a climate emergency across Canada – a move that did not go unnoticed by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
“The City of Victoria is on the front lines of climate change. Our idyllic coastlines are a defining feature that keeps many of us here and upon which our economies are based. But we also recognize how very fragile those coastlines are,” says Helps.
“We have very serious concerns about the impact that increased tanker traffic would have on the long term ecological and economic health of our coastlines… However, I applaud the Federal government by also declaring a climate emergency. It gives me hope that they will be strong partners in helping our City mitigate the immediate impacts of climate change and protect it in the future.”
Just minutes after the announcement, local advocacy group Rise and Resist shared their decision to host an organized protest march in Victoria.
“Our message is simple – no consent, no pipelines, no matter what. Not now, not ever,” reads their official statement.
The 20 km march is expected to take place this Saturday, June 22nd at 8 a.m. from Centennial Square to Island View Beach.