OTTAWA, ON. (NEWS 1130) – As Burnaby tries to halt the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from going forward, Canada’s natural resources minister is reaffirming his support for the project.
In a conference call with reporters from Paris, Jim Carr reiterated the federal government’s position that it will be good for all of Canada if the project moves ahead. “I think it’s important that Canada knows why the Government of Canada approved the Trans Mountain expansion, I think the reasons are compelling,” Carr said Wednesday.
Burnaby has opted not to issue work permits for the project, prompting Kinder Morgan and the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments to ask the National Energy Board to ensure work moves forward.
The city, however, has insisted it’s following regulatory processes and has even asked for an apology for the suggestion it’s slowing the process down on purpose.
“I would be happy to send that message to all Canadians as I do,” says Carr, noting the 15,000-plus jobs it will create primarily in British Columbia and Alberta.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has announced she’ll be going on a stump tour to promote the project, as well as the overall energy industry and Carr was asked whether the feds should do the same. “She will travel across the country telling Canadians why she thinks it’s a good idea, not only for Alberta, for all of Canada,” he points out. “We share that conclusion.”
Burnaby is against the project and even has intervener status in a court case against the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Kinder Morgan fears delays will jeopardize the construction schedule.
In September, Kinder Morgan announced construction of the $7.4 billion project would begin and would take up to 28 months to complete. Work has begun on the terminal in Burnaby, which doesn’t require a permit. The project will triple capacity on the pipeline from the Edmonton area to Burnaby. The project was approved by the federal government last fall.
The BC NDP government has vowed to use “every tool available” to try to stop the expansion, but has admitted the options available to the province are limited.
Meantime, a non-profit group has abandoned a legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline, saying losing the case could bankrupt the organization.
Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch says the advocacy group decided to withdraw its legal action after the BC Supreme Court judge assigned to the case suggested from the bench the premier was not responsible for the decision to grant environmental approval to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion.
The original court action alleges that the decision to sanction the project was “tainted” by political donations made by its proponents to former premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal party.
Democracy Watch and PIPE UP Network filed the documents early this year.
Conacher says many of the proponents had applied to intervene in the case and if the government won, they would have asked Democracy Watch to pay legal costs amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.