Trans Mountain pipeline work. (Trans Mountain photo)

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

The federal Liberal government is giving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion a second lease on life.

“Today, I’m announcing that our government has approved the Trans Mountain expansion project going forward,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa after markets closed Tuesday.

“This is a new decision. The company plans to have shovels in the ground this construction season.”

The decision to reapprove the project comes nine months after the Federal Court of Appeal ripped up the original federal approval, citing incomplete Indigenous consultations and a faulty environmental review. Trudeau says the court said the government needed to better.

“And you know what?” Trudeau said. “They were right.”

The Liberals ordered the National Energy Board to look at marine shipping impacts; Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi started another round of consultations with Indigenous communities affected by the project.

Tuesday’s decision also comes the day after the Liberals passed a motion in the House of Commons declaring climate change a national emergency that would require more cuts to emissions than have already been promised.

In 2016, the National Energy Board said the production of another 590,000 barrels of oil, which would maximize the twinned pipeline’s capacity, could generate 14-17 million more tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, which means Canada would have to find ways to cut more from other sectors to meet and then exceed its current targets.

Trudeau says he is sympathetic to concerns about the environment and the need to transition to cleaner sources of energy, but says that in order to fund that transition, Canada needs to take advantage of its natural resources while they are still needed.

“The policies of the last century will not serve Canadians in this one,” he said.

READ MORE: Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

The government will require that every dollar in federal revenue coming from the project be reinvested in clean energy and green technology. That includes an estimated $500 million a year in new annual corporate tax revenues once the pipeline is in service, as well as any revenues from the promised sale of the entire expanded pipeline back to the private sector.

“To those who want sustainable energy and a cleaner environment, know that I want that too,” said Trudeau. “But in order to bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going, we need money to pay for it.”

Trudeau says construction will restart this construction season, but there is no specific date yet. Trans Mountain Canada will have to apply a second time for all the necessary federal, provincial and municipal permits before breaking ground.

The federal cabinet is also requiring another consultation with Indigenous communities affected by the project to determine how they can potentially become economic partners in the project.

The government has accepted the 156 conditions the National Energy Board put on the project approval, but is amending six of them to include requiring Indigenous communities to be involved in developing marine emergency response plans, mitigating potential impacts on sacred sites, and Indigenous involvement in post-construction environmental impact reporting.

There are also eight new accommodations required to take into account Indigenous concerns, including working with some communities to potentially move the route.

PHOTOS: Rival protests highlight B.C.’s divide over pipeline projec

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm Silverbacks meet Snakes in BCHL simulated conference final

BCHL turns to video game and players from remaining teams to crown a simulated league playoff winner

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery has ceased spirits operations and has produced over 3,000 litres of sanitizer since March 26

Second million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Same thing happened on March 7; somebody won Guaranteed Match Number prize

WATCH: Coldstream producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Salmon Arm mayor supports parking solution for hungry truckers

Alternative to Highway 1 suggested for drivers wanting access to McDonald’s

First responders continue to rally in support of health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters for the second night in a row

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

Vehicle goes up in smoke in Okanagan garage

Fire department on-scene in 200 block of Poplar Point Drive near Knox Mountain in Kelowna

COSAR rescues two lost hikers from Okanagan Mountain Park

Two male hikers were overdue from a hike they left for on the morning of March 28

Most Read