The federal government’s new effort to gain approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion must “comprehensively address the risks that our government and many British Columbians have been raising,” B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman says.
The federal government ordered the National Energy Board on Friday to reconsider the project’s marine impact, particularly the additional ship traffic on B.C.’s resident killer whale population. The board has been given 22 weeks to reopen the marine impact, as directed by the Federal Court of Appeal in August.
Heyman noted that the court decision to suspend the project permits also rejected the federal government’s efforts to consult affected Indigenous communities.
“Meaningful consultation is critical to any future actions,” Heyman said. “A diluted bitumen spill would present a threat to our coast and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on the coast. We will continue to defend B.C.’s interests.”
The B.C. NDP government has joined a separate court action with Indigenous and environmental groups to challenge the project, which had 14 court cases in its favour until the August ruling.
Safety testing and preliminary work on equipment and material sites has continued, since the federal government bought the project and set up a new Crown corporation called Trans Mountain Corp. to complete the expansion.
Kinder Morgan Canada CEO Ian Anderson was retained to head the new corporation, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took over the 65-year-old pipeline and expansion project and vowed it will be completed.