April 24, 2018 10:48 am
Updated: April 24, 2018 9:48 pm

Rachel Notley backs Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta community where pipeline begins

WATCH ABOVE: A coalition of 24 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade are calling on the federal government and the government of B.C. to clear all barriers to getting the federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project built. President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Janet Riopel joins Global News at Noon Edmonton to discuss the push.

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On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke about the ongoing controversy surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in the community where the Kinder Morgan project originates.

Notley spoke at the Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce to reinforce the government’s commitment to the project.

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“We come together at a very important moment in the history of our province and the history of our country and this community,” she said. “[The] businesses, the working families who proudly call Sherwood Park home — you are at the very centre of this moment.

“Not far from here is where the Trans Mountain pipeline originates and where it has operated safely for decades. You all know this and you all know it better than anyone and you know that Kinder Morgan’s operations in Sherwood Park are more than just pipes and valves.”

The $7.4-billion project would triple the capacity of the existing line from Strathcona County to Burnaby, to get more oil to overseas markets and fetch a better price.

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ ongoing coverage of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The tension between Alberta and B.C. over the line remains high, as B.C. Premier John Horgan’s government continues to try to block the already green-lit expansion, which Notley says “will be built.”

“All of Canada relies on and needs a strong energy industry and it’s really important for people across this country, outside of Alberta, to understand that,” she said on Tuesday, adding that the U.S. increasing its oil production is seeing that country “changing from being our biggest customer to being our biggest competitor.”

READ MORE: Alberta move to cut energy shipments expected to hit more than B.C. fuel prices

The Trans Mountain project was approved by the federal government in 2016 but has since faced court challenges and permit delays in B.C.

Horgan’s government says it still has concerns over the impact of the expansion on the potential for oil spills in its waterways and on its coastline.

READ MORE: Support for the Trans Mountain expansion grows amidst pipeline dispute

Horgan’s opposition to Trans Mountain is rooted, in part, in the fact that his NDP government depends on the support of the Green Party, which opposes the project. This opposition is the main reason Kinder Morgan put the brakes on non-essential funding for the project earlier this month.

Kinder Morgan announced April 8 it was scaling back construction, citing obstruction by B.C. that put the financial viability of the pipeline in question. It gave a deadline of May 31 for a clear signal the project can get built.

READ MORE: Kinder Morgan CEO says Trans Mountain pipeline may be ‘untenable’

On Tuesday, Notley said “conversations are going on at a furious pace” between her government and other stakeholders to try and bring a resolution to the matter.

Earlier this month, Horgan and Notley met in Ottawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Trudeau has said Ottawa will join talks with Alberta and Kinder Morgan to work out a financing arrangement to ensure the project gets built.

“We are one country my friends and so it is therefore time that we act like one,” Notley said to loud applause from the Sherwood Park crowd on Tuesday. “You know better than anyone, this pipeline fight… is about our ability to make sure working people here in Sherwood Park, working people across Alberta and working people from coast to coast to coast can benefit from a strong, sustainable, forward-looking Canadian energy industry.”

Notley asked her audience to call politicians in B.C. and in Ottawa to let them know how they feel about the pipeline project and suggested they also voice their support of the project loudly to the significant number of Albertans who have moved to B.C. for their retirement.

— With files from Ian Bickis and Dean Bennett, the Canadian Press, and Jessica Vomiero, Global News

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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