B.C. government still on the Kinder Morgan fence
Environment Minister Mary Polak says B.C. waiting for government's five conditions to be met
The British Columbia government is still waiting for the federal government to support its five conditions before approving Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline construction project.
B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak released a statement Tuesday afternoon that said the province is in the midst of its own environmental assessment on a project that will see the twinning of the pipeline from north of Edmonton to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C., that would nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.
"I understand the BC Environmental Assessment Office anticipates that it will soon complete B.C.'s environmental assessment, which has been underway for seven months. I have every confidence in B.C.'s process," said Polak.
The B.C. government has been steadfast in its position that pipeline approval would only come if the federal government meets its five conditions.
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Those conditions include world-leading marine oil spill response, world leading land oil spill prevention, legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights being addressed and British Columbia receiving a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits.
The federal government recently took a step forward in meeting two of the the conditions by investing $1.5 billion in an ocean projection plan.
Clark and Trudeau discuss approval over the phone
Unlike Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, B.C. Premier Christy Clark was not in Ottawa for the announcement.
Clark did however speak to Prime Minister Trudeau over the phone Tuesday afternoon.
A statement from the prime minister's office said the pair "agreed on the importance to take a balanced approach to the development of natural resources to help ensure the environment is protected, while creating jobs, including jobs in British Columbia."
If British Columbia's conditions are not met, the provincial government could hold up important permits needed to twin the pipeline through British Columbia.
Vancouver mayor 'profoundly disappointed'
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson says he is "profoundly disappointed" by the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Robertson has been a vocal opponent of the project.
"Approving Kinder Morgan's heavy oil pipeline expansion is a big step backwards for Canada's environment and economy. This project was approved under a flawed and biased Harper-era regulatory process that shut out local voices and ignored climate change and First Nations' concerns," said Robertson in a statement.
"The federal government's decision on Kinder Morgan is a missed opportunity for Canada, as there's never been a better time to aggressively shift to a clean-energy future.
"Vancouver's economy created 94,000 new jobs last year and significant tax revenue for Canada. It doesn't make sense to jeopardize that success with the risk that comes with an expanded Kinder Morgan heavy oil pipeline and more tankers. As I've said repeatedly, it is not worth the risk."
Robertson said the City of Vancouver will continue to raise concerns about Kinder Morgan's massive expansion that could bring seven times the number of oil tankers to the B.C. coast.
The Vancouver mayor said last week that a Kinder Morgan approval would mean "protests like you've never seen before."
Betrayal to Liberal voters
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has been strongly opposed to increasing the capacity of crude oil shipped to the Kinder Morgan facility that is based in his community.
Corrigan said the Trudeau government's approval of the project is a rejection of the people in Metro Vancouver who are both opposed to the project and voted for the federal Liberals in 2015.
"At first I thought I was just disappointed, but in fact I am depressed," said Corrigan. "I think a lot of people deeply resent the hypocrisy of the Trudeau government which seems to place a very high value on the North Coast of B.C. but seems unconcerned about the South Coast."
Steamrolling B.C. communities
In a statement, B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver accused the prime minister of betraying British Columbia's trust.
"The approval of this project is completely contradictory to this government's rhetoric at the Paris climate talks, as well as its commitments to finally embrace a new era of reconciliation," he said.
"This government was elected with guarantees that change would finally happen — instead we see yet another federal government steamrolling its pipeline agenda over First Nations and over B.C. communities."