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article imageTrudeau government approves Trans Mountain, Line 3 pipelines

By Karen Graham     Nov 29, 2016 in Politics
The waiting is over and it looks like a new line will be drawn in the tar sands of Alberta. The Trudeau government announced on Tuesday afternoon it has approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain and Enbridge Line 3 pipelines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has approved the triple capacity Trans Mountain pipeline Kinder Morgan proposes to build from Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia, as well as the Line 3 extension pipeline Enbridge wants to build from Alberta to the United States, doubling its capacity.
Trudeau says the two pipelines would boost Canadian oil pipeline capacity by more than 1.1 million barrels a day. The Northern Gateway pipeline, as was expected, failed to gain approval, although Trudeau went ahead and added a moratorium on crude oil tanker shipping on B.C.'s north coast, something he had pledged to do if elected in 2015.
"We are convinced it is in the best interests of Canadians," Trudeau said of the decision, reports CTV News. "We've heard clearly from Canadians that they don't want to see someone trying to make a choice between what's good for the environment and what's good for the economy. They need to go together, and the decisions we've made today and leading up to today are entirely consistent with that."
As for the tanker moratorium, Trudeau added, "Very shortly we'll introduce legislation to make this tanker moratorium the law."
Not only is Mr. Trudeau's decision a major test as he tries to balance environmental concerns with economic promises in Canada, says the BBC, but his decision comes at a time when President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office and turn the American energy sector upside down, a promise Trump made to his followers.
Trudeau said on Tuesday the approved projects are in the best interest of the nation and are a part of Canada's "clean energy transition." He also added, "We are under no illusion the decision today will be bitterly disputed."
And yes, indeed, his decision will be disputed. Environmentalists, activists and many indigenous leaders have already said they will not give up on the fight to stop the pipelines.
"The struggle will simply intensify," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Chiefs. "It will become more litigious, it will become more political and the battle will continue." Chief Phillip says there are no conditions that would have been agreed to by any of the chiefs.
He added, "The risks are just too grave. The tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet will increase by 700 percent and it's inevitable that there will be a collision in a very congested inlet."
Trudeau's decision on the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 extension only grew in importance after President Barack Obama turned down approval of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, says the Dallas Morning News, also adding that President-elect Donald Trump has said he would support the pipeline.
So it looks like the pipelines in Canada and the U.S. are becoming political hot potatoes and there is no doubt the fight to stop them will go on. British Columbia is the birthplace of the Greenpeace movement, and there is very strong opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Opposition is so strong that Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, who is in favor of the pipeline, fears it will never be built.
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