B.C. grants enviro approval for Trans Mountain project

B.C. granted environmental approval on Wednesday to the expansion of the Trans Mountainpipeline.

VICTORIA — British Columbia granted environmental approval on Wednesday to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The federal government gave its approval for Kinder Morgan Canada’s $6.8-billion expansion of the pipeline late last year after the National Energy Board recommended it go ahead if 157 conditions are met.

Premier Christy Clark recently said five conditions the province placed on the project were close to being met. She said the government was still working with Ottawa on spill response and it was preparing to negotiate an economic benefits package with Kinder Morgan that reflects B.C.’s risks associated with the pipeline and increased tanker traffic.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline, which runs from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and is expected to increase tanker traffic seven-fold.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman acknowledge in a news release that the energy board has the primary responsibility for ensuring the project is developed, constructed and operated in a safe and secure manner.

B.C.’s approval comes with 37 conditions on top of the energy board’s requirements, including the consultation of aboriginal groups, the development of a species-at-risk plan, and that a plan is established to mitigate and monitor the impact of the project on grizzly bears.

The provincial government also wants research conducted on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oils spilled in freshwater and marine aquatic environments to provide spill responders with improved information.

The ministers were required to release their decision on the project by this month to comply with a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province needed to conduct its own environmental assessment instead of relying on the National Energy Board process.

They said the province looked where it could improve the project by adding conditions.

“Clearly, the project will have economic benefits for British Columbia workers, families and communities,” the ministers said in the statement. “However, we have always been clear economic development will not come at the expense of the environment. We believe environmental protection and economic development can occur together, and the conditions attached to the (environmental assessment) certificate reflect that.”

Some environmental groups, mayors in B.C. communities affected by the project and aboriginal leaders have opposed the pipeline expansion.

Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee accused the government of “blatantly” aligning itself against the wishes of its own citizens by granting the environmental approval.

“Right when we need our leadership to stand up to Alberta and Ottawa, they buckle like a cheap lawn chair,” he said in a news release.

“We’ve known all along that the government’s five conditions were political posturing instead of a real assessment of the risks and benefits for B.C. British Columbians aren’t stupid. Those conditions were never worth the paper they were written on.”

New Democrat Opposition Leader John Horgan said he plans to “use every tool in our tool box” to stop the pipeline expansion.

He held up a small glass jar full with what he said was heavy oil to show how thick and difficult it would be to clean up if there was a spill.

“This is what risk looks like to our coast,” said Horgan.

Just Posted

Art Battle Red Deer to support Women of Excellence Awards

Art Battle Red Deer will be April 6 at the Radisson Hotel

Eliminating racial discrimination events in Red Deer this week

Two upcoming events aim to inspire change and eliminate racial discrimination in… Continue reading

Outfitter facing Wildlife Act charges

It is alleged archery-only hunting licences used out of season

Sunnybrook pies in demand

Just in time for Easter

Red Deer’s Chopped Canada winner takes break from restaurant business

Pete Sok closes Sophear, but plans to eventually relocate

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

21-year-old charged with drug trafficking in Rocky Mountain House

RCMP seized drugs after conducting a traffic stop and charged a 21-year-old… Continue reading

Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms

OTTAWA — Gun retailers would be required to keep records of firearms… Continue reading

Alberta factoring in Trans Mountain pipeline in budget forecasts

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Joe Ceci says Alberta will rely on anticipated… Continue reading

Pooches and pickup truck stolen in Edmonton found in Rimbey

Two old English bulldogs named Rocky and Jersey who were in a… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports wholesale sales up 0.1 per cent in January

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says wholesale sales rose 0.1 per cent to… Continue reading

Right whale deaths cost Gulf snow crab fishery its designation as sustainable

HALIFAX — An international organization has suspended a sustainability certificate for the… Continue reading

Financial watchdog says controls to mitigate sales risk at banks ‘insufficient’

TORONTO — Canada’s financial consumer watchdog says there are “insufficient” controls in… Continue reading

Sheriff official: 3 injured in Maryland high school shooting

GREAT MILLS, Md. — A shooting at a Maryland high school Tuesday… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month