Trans Mountain pipeline construction to resume in Burnaby after NEB approval

Click to play video 'NEB gives go-ahead for some construction on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to resume' NEB gives go-ahead for some construction on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to resume
WATCH: The National Energy Board has given the go-ahead for some construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to resume. Tom Vernon reports – Aug 2, 2019

The National Energy Board (NEB) has given the green light for construction to resume this year at two Burnaby, B.C., terminals linked to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

In a letter sent Thursday to Trans Mountain Canada, the NEB approved Trans Mountain’s request to resume work at the Westridge Marine Terminal and Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal.

Construction will also ramp up again on the Burnaby Mountain Tunnel that will connect the two terminals.

WATCH: (Aired June 2) Burnaby mayor takes pipeline safety concerns to the prime minister

Click to play video 'The mayor of Burnaby says he’s taken his concerns about pipeline safety to the prime minister' The mayor of Burnaby says he’s taken his concerns about pipeline safety to the prime minister
The mayor of Burnaby says he’s taken his concerns about pipeline safety to the prime minister – Jun 2, 2019

A number of laydown sites for pipeline infrastructure and other equipment have also been approved to be built in Kamloops, Merritt, Hope and Abbotsford.

Story continues below advertisement

The approval comes after the NEB found Trans Mountain had met a number of pre-construction conditions for the various sites.

READ MORE: Burnaby mayor says city’s pipeline concerns have been ignored, talked over

However, the letter states the company’s request to also resume work at the Edmonton terminal has not yet been approved, saying the NEB is still reviewing whether pre-construction conditions have been met at that site.

Trans Mountain had initially requested for work at all terminals to resume on Monday, but the exact start date is not yet clear. The company told Global News it expects to release more information soon.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets green light to proceed

“We’re pleased [the] NEB has confirmed we’ve met pre-construction conditions required to get work underway at some terminals,” Trans Mountain said in a brief statement posted on social media.

“Meeting pre-construction conditions is one of several things that we need to have in place before getting shovels in the ground.”

Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi called the NEB’s approval “an important decision” on the way to construction ramping up “this season.”

Story continues below advertisement

Construction had just gotten underway in Burnaby, Edmonton, and along the pipeline route in-between, when the Federal Court of Appeal halted the work last year, ruling the federal government had not properly consulted with First Nations.

Following the ruling, the government restarted consultations with 117 Indigenous stakeholders, while the NEB also reopened hearings on the project.

In February, the NEB recommended Ottawa reapprove the controversial $7.5-billion project, which the Liberal government did earlier this summer after weeks of delays.

WATCH: (Aired July 12) Trudeau visits Trans Mountain terminal in Edmonton

Click to play video 'Trudeau TMX ‘announcement’ in Edmonton more of a campaign stop' Trudeau TMX ‘announcement’ in Edmonton more of a campaign stop
Trudeau TMX ‘announcement’ in Edmonton more of a campaign stop – Jul 12, 2019

The pipeline expansion is set to triple the amount of bitumen flowing from Alberta to B.C. after twinning an existing pipeline between the two provinces.

Story continues below advertisement

Marine tanker traffic will triple as more vessels arrive at the Burnaby terminal to load crude oil destined for overseas markets.

The City of Burnaby has voiced its opposition to the expansion, with Mayor Mike Hurley promising to keep fighting the federal government’s decision.

READ MORE: National Energy Board rules Trans Mountain expansion project should be approved

Hurley has also said his constituents’ safety concerns over the expansion have been ignored, and brought those concerns to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this summer.

The city is considering joining the B.C. government’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, after a lower court decided that the province could not restrict the transport of diluted bitumen inside its boundaries.

Kanahus Manuel, a spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors, told Global News on Saturday the decision to allow construction to resume doesn’t change efforts to fight the project until it’s dead.

READ MORE: Ottawa won’t rush into sale of Trans Mountain pipeline to Indigenous groups: Sohi

“This just reaffirms how the Canadian government, the National Energy Board, how they see Indigenous peoples,” she said on the phone from Blue River, B.C., where she and other Secwepemc people have set up protest camps on their traditional territory along the pipeline route.

Story continues below advertisement

“The action against this pipeline is going to continue to pick up, all along this line, and that’s what we’ve committed to. People aren’t scared to keep mobilizing their forces in Burnaby again.”

Last year, more than 200 protesters were arrested on Burnaby Mountain before the project was halted.

— With files from Tom Vernon, Hannah Jackson, Jesse Ferreras and the Canadian Press