Canada regulatory board greenlights Trans Mountain pipeline

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) commends the National Energy Board (NEB) for recommending the federal government approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and concluding the Project is in the best interest of our country.

The project is a twinning of a Kinder Morgan pipeline that runs from Edmonton, where it receives diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, to a port in Burnaby.

This after the National Energy Board recommended the approval of Kinder Morgan's TransMountain Pipeline from Alberta to BC.

The proposal is popular in Western Canada but has encountered stiff opposition in Quebec, where politicians, citizens and ecologists have argued the environmental risks outweigh the economic benefits.

Already there have been protests and more than 100 arrests - with charges later dismissed - when Kinder Morgan conducted drilling in a park on Burnaby Mountain, near Simon Fraser University.

Earlier this week, the federal government announced an environmental panel to review the project that will report in November to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade urges the federal government to now "respect the science-based regulatory process of the NEB and thus approve the project based on the expert opinion of Canada's independent regulator".

The $6.8 billion expansion project would twin the existing pipeline, mostly in the existing right of way, to triple capacity from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 890,000 bpd.

That wasn't a problem for the former Conservative government, who excluded climate arguments from the pipeline approval process.

If B.C.'s own carbon pricing is used, it could amount to $30 million, since B.C.'s carbon tax prices carbon at $30 per tonne. It also found that with mitigation measures and its conditions, the project "would not likely cause significant adverse environmental effects". But key First Nations on the coast remain opposed, including the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam.

The company aims to start construction in 2017 and finish it by late 2019.

It would increase vessel traffic through the Salish Sea - seven-fold.

"It is our hope that we provide a sustainable process for resources development and economic growth within Kamloops, B.C. and across Canada", Scorgie added. The Westridge Marine Terminal beside Burrard Inlet off Burnaby would also be expanded.

"Most noteworthy is the cavalier treatment of the most critical issue, which is the potential for bituminous oils to be cleaned up after a spill".

The NEB's 533 report on Kinder Morgan's proposal includes 157 conditions the project must adhere to if it is to go ahead.

He points to polls which suggest most people in BC support these kinds of projects.

February 21, 2012: Kinder Morgan says it wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline after receiving support from oil shippers and will begin public consultations.

The board said the project was in Canada's public interest, despite threats to the endangered killer whales that spend time in Washington state. "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". "There is still quite a lot of work to be done", she said, although she added that she was pleased that some of the conditions recommended by the NEB reflect her government's concerns about inadequate marine oil spill response capacity.

Officials have said they expect an additional 350 loaded oil tankers moving though the waters each year if the project is built.

During NEB hearings, the province said it could not yet support the pipeline because its conditions for new heavy oil pipelines have not been met.

"I shouldn't be surprised, but this is an outrageous decision".

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