Trans Mountain pipeline expansion granted environmental certificate by B.C. government
Province has tacked on 37 conditions for environmental approval on top of 157 NEB conditions
By Richard Zussman, CBC News, January 11, 2017
The B.C. government has given the green light to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman have issued the environmental assessment approval for the interprovincial twinning of the pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby, B.C.
“Clearly, the project will have economic benefits for British Columbia workers, families and communities. However, we have always been clear economic development will not come at the expense of the environment,” Polak and Coleman said in a joint statement.
“We believe environmental protection and economic development can occur together, and the conditions attached to the EA certificate reflect that.”
B.C. adding 37 conditions for Trans Mountain to meet
The environmental assessment comes with 37 conditions from the provincial government. Those are in addition to the 157 conditions required by the National Energy Board.
The provincial conditions are meant to address concerns that have been raised by Aboriginal groups during consultation undertaken for the project, including impacts on vegetation and wildlife, parks and protected areas, greenhouse gas emissions and terrestrial and marine spills.
The federal government granted approval in November, saying the project was in the national interest. The $6.8 billion expansion would triple Kinder Morgan’s oil capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.
British Columbia was required to provide its own environmental assessment — separate from the National Energy Board — after a court ruling stated it could not assign the matter on projects of this magnitude.
Project faces strong local opposition
The pipeline faces strong local opposition, including oppsition from Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan. Corrigan said the project would see seven times the number of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet, off Vancouver’s coast.
“I am surprised they have made this decision without negotiating any resolve on the conditions,” said Corrigan. “I guess she[Clark] has just conceded to the federal government on the issue and put up conditions to look like she has gained something.”
The Burnaby mayor said the project is still before both the federal court of appeal and the B.C. court of appeal.