British Columbia’s decision to grant environmental approval to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is “good news for Alberta,” a smiling Premier Rachel Notley said Wednesday.
At a news conference, Notley told reporters she had been “hopeful” and “optimistic” B.C. would green-light the project and was proud of her government’s role helping to make it a reality.
Watch below: B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced on Wednesday that her government has issued an environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The Trans Mountain expansion, Kinder Morgan’s controversial plan to triple the capacity of the existing pipeline, has long been touted by Notley as an important project for the sputtering economy. It has been met with fierce opposition from a number of environmental and First Nations groups. Just last month, conservation groups filed a new court challenge to the federal government’s approval of the oil pipeline.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Notley said while she respects the views of those opposed to pipeline projects, she wanted to remind the people of B.C. that many of them benefit economically from Alberta’s oilpatch. She also said the project would spur federal investment into marine safety, a benefit to British Columbians.
Watch below: In November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government of Canada has approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project.
The Trudeau government approved the $6.8-billion project late last year after the National Energy Board recommended it go ahead as long as it met dozens of conditions. Just last month, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the conditions she had laid out for approving the project were close to being met. Among her demands were the assurance that B.C. would reap its share of the project’s economic benefits and that an effective spill response was in place.
Clark’s government reached a revenue-sharing deal with Kinder Morgan that will see the company pay B.C. up to $1 billion over 20 years. Notley said the deal won’t negatively impact Alberta and she isn’t worried it will set a dangerous precedent for other proposed pipelines.
Notley said her government still has much to do to get new pipelines built.
“We are not out of the woods by any means. There are a lot of difficult times ahead and hard work to do but this is certainly something that of course in the long-term will have measurable benefits in terms of GDP, and jobs and bringing investment.”
The pipeline runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. and if its capacity is expanded, is expected to increase tanker traffic seven-fold.
B.C.’s environmental approval of the Kinder Morgan project comes on the same day Hollywood actor and environmentalist Jane Fonda spoke at a news conference in Edmonton to voice her concerns about Alberta’s oilsands.
The event, hosted by Greenpeace Canada, saw Fonda join a number of indigenous leaders to express their opposition to the Trudeau government’s approval of the Line 3 and Trans Mountain expansion projects, as well as the proposed Keystone XL and Energy East projects.
Watch below: Actress and environmental activist Jane Fonda told reporters Wednesday that she has no problem with those who work in Alberta’s energy sector, saying they have a “common enemy” in climate change.
When asked about Fonda’s visit, Notley suggested the actor “doesn’t know what she’s talking about” and didn’t take advantage of her government’s offer to talk to her about both its climate and energy policies.
She also said she was “frustrated” that Fonda engaged in “non-fact-based” commentary and suggested her visit wasn’t particularly sensitive to the people of Fort McMurray as they rebuild after a catastrophic wildfire and cope with the fallout of slumping oil prices.
When asked if the indigenous leaders who sat next to Fonda at her news conference were also “ill-informed,” Notley said her government has and will continue to work with Alberta’s indigenous people.
-With files from Karen Bartko and The Canadian Press.