Notley says federal approval for Trans Mountain pipeline to come by end of May
NDP leader to appear before Senate committee to discuss oil tanker moratorium
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says she expects Ottawa to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast by the end of May.
In a election campaign stop with energy workers in Edmonton on Monday, Notley said the province is closer than ever to getting the pipeline.
"We are this close, this close to getting that pipeline back under construction," Notley said. "In fact, we expect an approval from the federal government by the end of next month."
The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22. That started the clock on a 90-day period for the federal government to decide whether the project should proceed.
No one from federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi's office immediately returned a request for comment. In March, Sohi said a final decision could come by summer, after consultations with affected Indigenous groups are complete.
Notley said she understands that the federal government is making good progress on those consultations.
Public opinion supports pipeline, Notley says
"It's not like the federal government is calling me up saying, 'Hey, we are going to do this,' because they are not and I am not here saying that," said Notley.
"What I am telling you is that public opinion is fully behind it, that the recommendations of the NEB have addressed all of the issues ... the position of the industry here and the fact it's paired with an emissions cap in the oilsands — all of these things address all of the critical objections that have been made in the past.
"We've got growing support from Indigenous groups across this province and into B.C. who want in on the pipeline deal. There is just a growing level of support."
Notley said about seven in 10 Canadians now support the project because they understand it would support jobs and a strong economy.
She said that if her party were to be re-elected on April 16, she would continue to stand up for Alberta's energy industry.
"Honestly I would bet my mortgage ... I would bet my political future ... we will have shovels back in the ground this fall. I am very confident in it," Notley told a live audience Monday on CBC's Alberta at Noon.
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During a leaders debate last Thursday, United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney suggested that Notley has foolishly tied Alberta's fortunes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government by introducing a carbon tax.
In return, Kenney said, Trudeau has hindered Alberta's bedrock industry with a ban on tankers off the northern B.C. coast and proposed legislation that Kenney says could hinder approvals for future energy projects.
Kenney said Trudeau has also bungled the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to get more Alberta oil to the B.C. coast.
The project has been delayed by court challenges and rulings.
The federal government stepped in last year to buy the project to help ensure it gets built.
Notley says she is to appear Tuesday via video link before the Senate transportation committee to discuss the oil tanker moratorium bill.
"Bill C-48 attacks the Alberta economy and needs to go," she said Monday. "I will be making that case forcefully."