Pipeline approvals show Canada is back as a responsible oil producer – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – November 30, 2016)


For Western Canada’s oil producing regions, Tuesday’s approval of two major pipelines marks the beginning of the end of a decade of uncomfortable confrontation and missed opportunity.

It’s been that long since the first major and probably most attractive projects, Keystone XL and Northern Gateway, were proposed, in good faith, to transport growing oil production.

Opposition by environmentalists, aboriginals and local communities led to a flurry of other options: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, Enbridge Inc.’s Line 9 expansion and reversal (in operation since last year), TransCanada’s Energy East, Enbridge’s Line 3, plus a big build up in costly and dangerous oil transportation by rail. Meanwhile, there were bottlenecks, regulatory gridlock and losses in investment and income.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is approving the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3. But he also rejected Northern Gateway and moved to formalize a ban on oil tankers along B.C.’s northern coast.

The approval of the Trans Mountain expansion, in particular, was a courageous step. Trudeau stood firm against dogged opponents in the Vancouver area and elsewhere, arguing he won’t be swayed by political argument.

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