Trans Mountain pipeline work. (Trans Mountain photo)

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

The federal Liberal government is giving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion a second lease on life.

“Today, I’m announcing that our government has approved the Trans Mountain expansion project going forward,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa after markets closed Tuesday.

“This is a new decision. The company plans to have shovels in the ground this construction season.”

The decision to reapprove the project comes nine months after the Federal Court of Appeal ripped up the original federal approval, citing incomplete Indigenous consultations and a faulty environmental review. Trudeau says the court said the government needed to better.

“And you know what?” Trudeau said. “They were right.”

The Liberals ordered the National Energy Board to look at marine shipping impacts; Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi started another round of consultations with Indigenous communities affected by the project.

Tuesday’s decision also comes the day after the Liberals passed a motion in the House of Commons declaring climate change a national emergency that would require more cuts to emissions than have already been promised.

In 2016, the National Energy Board said the production of another 590,000 barrels of oil, which would maximize the twinned pipeline’s capacity, could generate 14-17 million more tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, which means Canada would have to find ways to cut more from other sectors to meet and then exceed its current targets.

Trudeau says he is sympathetic to concerns about the environment and the need to transition to cleaner sources of energy, but says that in order to fund that transition, Canada needs to take advantage of its natural resources while they are still needed.

“The policies of the last century will not serve Canadians in this one,” he said.

READ MORE: Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

The government will require that every dollar in federal revenue coming from the project be reinvested in clean energy and green technology. That includes an estimated $500 million a year in new annual corporate tax revenues once the pipeline is in service, as well as any revenues from the promised sale of the entire expanded pipeline back to the private sector.

“To those who want sustainable energy and a cleaner environment, know that I want that too,” said Trudeau. “But in order to bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going, we need money to pay for it.”

Trudeau says construction will restart this construction season, but there is no specific date yet. Trans Mountain Canada will have to apply a second time for all the necessary federal, provincial and municipal permits before breaking ground.

The federal cabinet is also requiring another consultation with Indigenous communities affected by the project to determine how they can potentially become economic partners in the project.

The government has accepted the 156 conditions the National Energy Board put on the project approval, but is amending six of them to include requiring Indigenous communities to be involved in developing marine emergency response plans, mitigating potential impacts on sacred sites, and Indigenous involvement in post-construction environmental impact reporting.

There are also eight new accommodations required to take into account Indigenous concerns, including working with some communities to potentially move the route.

PHOTOS: Rival protests highlight B.C.’s divide over pipeline projec

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke elementary school students create art for seniors

The inter-generational project sees Grade 5 students creating outdoor art at Moberly Manor

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

COVID-19: B.C. landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Structure fire in Lake Country

Fire crews are responding to a blaze on Pelmewash Parkway

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Location of Summerland’s solar project questioned

Proposal calls for location on prime housing land

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Kelowna police seek witnesses to fatal collision

The crash was discovered in the 3100-block of Bulman Road in Kelowna around 5:30 a.m. on June 1

Evacuation order and alerts issued for properties in Cawston area

Flooding in region results in State of Local Emergency

Kelowna residents to hold peaceful rally in solidarity with BLM movement

The rally will be held at Stuart Park in Kelowna at 12 p.m. on June 5

Most Read