Calgary

Alberta cheers federal approval of $2.3B gas pipeline expansion but slams delay

The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer's construction season.

Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. required to restore 3,840 hectares of caribou habitat

Federal approval of the $2.3-billion expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system is being applauded by the Alberta government. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer's construction season.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan says the $2.3-billion expansion was approved by the government as part of a "commitment to moving forward with good projects."

In a release, he says the federal government strengthened five conditions proposed by the Canada Energy Regulator and added one new condition, with the changes aimed at better addressing Indigenous rights and mitigating construction impacts on caribou habitat.

He says the pipeline division owned by Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. will now be required to restore 3,840 hectares of caribou habitat, an area 30 times the size of the habitat impacted by the project, and an Indigenous working group is to be formed to assist with the restoration and monitoring plan.

The project is expected to create up to 2,920 direct jobs during construction, the federal release said, while adding 344 kilometres of new pipeline to the existing Nova system from west of Red Deer in central Alberta to near Grande Prairie in the northwestern part of the province.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage says the expansion is a "key infrastructure project" for the province's natural gas industry.

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