UPDATE: Kids tackle the Trans Mountain pipeline controversy

CBC Kids News • Published 2019-02-21 15:36

Alberta-B.C. pipeline either goes ahead or stalls again on Feb. 22

UPDATE: On Feb. 22, the National Energy Board approved the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

The board said 156 conditions would have to be met first but overall, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Now the Canadian government has 90 days to decide whether or not the pipeline will be built.

Will the Trans Mountain pipeline project — which has sparked protests across the country — be approved or not?

That’s the burning question for many people in B.C. and Alberta today, who are either in favour or against the project.

The National Energy Board, which regulates things like pipelines for the Canadian government, is supposed to release a final report on the subject on Feb. 22.

It’s an issue that has really divided some Canadians, leading to loud protests on both sides.

Two groups of protesters from either side of the debate stand in the street with colourful signs.

Protesters rally in support of the Trans Mountain pipeline, above, and against the project, below. Both protests took place in Vancouver in 2018, but on different days. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

What’s the deal with this pipeline?

A company called Kinder Morgan wanted to expand a pipeline from Edmonton, Alta., to Burnaby, B.C.

A smaller version of the pipeline already exists.

It’s used to transport oil, which can eventually be turned into gas, diesel and other products, from the Alberta oilsands to the coast.

From there, it can be shipped to other countries.

Kinder Morgan wanted to build a second pipeline next to the first one, in order to triple the amount of oil that can be transported each day.

Map shows proposed route for pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast.

A bumpy ride so far

The Canadian government actually approved the project in 2016, and construction had started.

In April 2018, strong opposition from the B.C. government caused Kinder Morgan to stop work on the project.

As a way to save the project, the Canadian government paid $4.5 billion dollars to buy the pipeline from the company.

Then, in August 2018, three judges with the Federal Court of Appeal (which deals with Canadian legal matters that are being challenged) ripped up the project’s approval.


The judges said the Canadian government hadn’t done enough to consult with Indigenous groups.

They also said Canada should have considered the possible impact of increased oil tanker ship traffic on endangered killer whales.

So, it was back to square one for the National Energy Board, which had to start its review of the pipeline project all over again.

Drawing of two workers handling a big piece of pipe.

If built, the Trans Mountain pipeline would triple the amount of oil that could be transported from Alberta to B.C. each day. (John Fraser and Philip Street/CBC)

What happens now?

On Feb. 22, the board will either announce that the project can go forward or that it’s delayed again.

Canada still owns the pipeline project, but it’s looking for a private company to buy it.

Both sides

Watch the video at the top of the page to hear what kids on both sides have to say about the Trans Mountain pipeline, and whether it should be built or not.

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