Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

British Columbia government tells Canada's energy regulator to reject pipeline expansion

Westridge Marine Terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline in the suburb of Vancouver.
Craig McCulloch
Westridge Marine Terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline in the suburb of Vancouver.

The TransCanada pipeline and opponents have filed their final submissions to Canada’s energy regulator. This second review of the proposed pipeline expansion, which would see dramatically increased oil tankers in the Salish Sea, was ordered by a court last year.

The British Columbia government told the National Energy Board it should reject the pipeline expansion because of the possible environmental impact of an oil spill and any ability to respond. The province also says it has not been proven that the expansion is necessary.

If it proceeds, the expanded pipeline would see a seven-fold increase in oil tankers, en route to Asia, traversing the Salish Sea with heavy crude oil known as bitumen. 

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which is located where the pipeline meets the ocean in suburban Vancouver, B.C., says this second review is even worse than the original due to tight deadlines and limited scope of review.

A federal court in August ordered a stop to the expansion, saying the energy regulator failed to originally examine any impact on ocean wildlife and the Canadian government failed to properly consult First Nations.

For their part, Trans Mountain says the expansion is desperately needed and it will take measures to protect against oil spills and negative impact on wildlife.

The final report of the National Energy Board needs to be submitted to the Canadian government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Feb. 22.

The government bought the pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan last year in a multi-billion dollar deal.

The environmental group Stand Earth also has asked the board to expand the review and look at how the expanded pipeline would impact climate change. 

The board’s current review is limited to environmental impacts of increased tanker traffic, particularly on the Southern Resident killer whales, and consultations with First Nations.