With his announcement Monday of a $1.5 billion marine protection plan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created the conditions to approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
If he does, Trudeau will have broken the paralysis on pipeline approvals orchestrated by the environmental lobby that culminated with last year’s refusal by U.S. President Barack Obama to permit TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline.
Though Trudeau didn’t tip his hand about his plans for tripling the capacity of the Edmonton to Vancouver pipeline, he said the oceans’ protection plan meets the highest global marine safety standards. His cabinet is due to decide by Dec. 19 whether the Kinder Morgan project is in the national interest.
“This robust national plan will protect our oceans and coastlines from the damage that comes from shipping and pollution,” he said at a press conference after touring Vancouver Harbour. “These measures are progressive and proactive and will ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.”
The ocean’s protection plan aims to satisfy one of the British Columbia government’s conditions for its support of the $6.8-billion Trans Mountain project, though it didn’t seem to match some of the requests made by Christy Clark’s government, including three new salvage rescue tugs costing up to $50 million apiece, a new $6 million CCG station in Prince Rupert and funding for a maritime training centre at the B.C. Institute of Technology.
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