Edmonton

Alberta minister decries 'double standards' as B.C.'s LNG project goes ahead

'We can’t have a country built on double standards;

Posted: October 02, 2018

Alberta Economic and Trade Minister Deron Bilous said Tuesday a $40-billion liquefied natural gas project going ahead in British Columbia will have a greater impact on tanker traffic than the proposed Trans Mountain expansion pipeline. (CBC)

An Alberta cabinet minister is suggesting there are double standards at play because B.C.'s liquefied natural gas project is going ahead while the Trans Mountain expansion is tied up in additional consultation.

Construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. was stopped in late August after the Federal Court of Canada ruled the National Energy Board didn't properly examine how an increase in tanker traffic would affect the surrounding coastal waters.

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Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous said Tuesday that the LNG project will have a bigger impact.

"It's going to result in about 177-per-cent increase in tanker traffic compared to TMX which will result in a 14 per cent increase," Bilous told reporters at the Alberta legislature.

"We can't have a country built on double standards. We need the federal government to move, and move quickly, to ensure that both of these projects move forward."

B.C. Premier John Horgan — who has opposed TMX to the ire of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley — appeared with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to announce the $40-billion LNG project is going ahead.

Late Monday, five investors from five countries signed on to the project, which would liquefy B.C. natural gas at a new processing plant in Kitimat, allowing export to overseas markets. Construction is expected to start immediately as all the required approvals have been granted.

"It's certainly a great day for northern British Columbia," Horgan said at Tuesday's news conference. "I can't tell you how proud I am. I can't stop smiling."

The Trans Mountain expansion would double an existing pipeline from Edmonton to the West Coast. Oil from Alberta would be loaded onto tankers at a new terminal in Burnaby.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the project's approval in late August because there wasn't enough consultation with Indigenous people.

The court ruled the National Energy Board didn't properly account for how an increase in tanker traffic could affect resident killer whales. Nor did it look at the impact of a diluted bitumen spill from the tankers.

The NEB will spend another 22 weeks doing additional consultation on the marine issues. A timeline for Indigenous consultation hasn't yet been released.

Last month, Notley said the consultation period was reasonable as it was the most timely option, but warned Ottawa to not let "legal game-playing" delay the project any further.