Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Economy | By

Feds launching review of oil tanker traffic leaving Burnaby

Feds launching review of oil tanker traffic leaving Burnaby

Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the NEB has 22 weeks to complete its environmental review, this time taking into account the impact of additional oil tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia due to an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.

"Our focus is to make sure we move forward on this project in the right way".

Notley said in Edmonton on Friday that her government's preference was for a legislative option to close loopholes in the National Energy Board's consultation process that would allow for indefinite appeals in court.

"If (the deadline) starts to slip and the goalposts shift, I can assure you that the voices of Albertans will be loud".

The Alberta premier said the timeline must be set in stone and her government will be watching closely.

The court also said Ottawa had failed to adequately consult First Nations because it had not sought to accommodate specific concerns raised by communities about the impact on them.

"The federal approval of this project was always political".

Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs was not appeased by Sohi's plan.

"For the past two years, they have promised timelines, they have promised action, they have promised outcomes, they have repeated over and over the pipeline will be built", Stubbs said. She said she still believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn't really want the project to happen. "He insists this pipeline is going to be built".


In her August 30 decision for the three-judge court, Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote that the board had made a "critical error" in not considering project-related tanker traffic in its review, and therefore it could not be relied upon when making a final decision.

Cullen tore into the government's insistence that the pipeline be built, and accused the government of ignoring any interference, saying, "Justin Trudeau has made up his mind".

The original NEB review of Trans Mountain was done mainly in 2015, before the Liberals were elected.

The Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple the capacity of the decades-old pipeline that runs 1,147 kilometres from outside Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. The proposal would also increase oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet from five ships per month to 34. Canada's economic future is on the line.

Southern resident killer whales are in extreme peril, with only 75 of the mammals known to be left, and no surviving calves since 2016.

On the other side of the equation, environment groups say the government is ordering the review assuming approval for the project will be reinstated no matter what the NEB finds.

"Real science takes time", he said, adding that in the past, "we've seen them try to push this project through". "It relates to lack of availability of chinook salmon, contaminants in the water and all vessels in the Salish Sea, the 3,200 large container ships and cruise ships, thousands of B.C. ferries, tens of thousands of recreational boats ... six more oil tankers a week is something that is important to mitigate, but this is a far bigger issue".

He also touted the federal government's decision to purchase the pipeline, arguing that if the Trans Mountain expansion was still in private hands, the court ruling would have killed it.

The Trudeau government appears to be conducting a "box-checking exercise", given statements by senior government leaders that the project will be built, said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada. The court decision overturning the approval was issued the day before the sale was finalized.

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