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Canadian Pipeline Clears Another Hurdle

Craig McCulloch
The existing Kinder Morgan pipeline through the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given conditional approval to a controversial expansion of the pipeline.

The expansion of a pipeline bringing crude oil to the Pacific Northwest from Alberta’s oil sands has cleared another hurdle, but with conditions. It is another step in the very long process that will see a massive increase in oil tankers through Puget Sound.

The British Columbia provincial government has issued Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline an “environmental assessment certificate.”  The expansion of the existing pipeline will see almost 900,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta travel to suburban Vancouver.  This will increase from the current five to 34 oil tankers a month that will sail out of Vancouver’s harbor, into Puget Sound en route to mainland China.  This is 70,000 more barrels a day than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

This certificate, however, comes with 37 conditions.  Among them: consult with First Nations communities, develop plans for possible impact on wildlife and parks, control greenhouse gas emissions, and develop a comprehensive emergency response plan.

This is in addition to the 157 conditions that the Canadian National Energy Board has previously required.  This proposed expansion has faced severe opposition from environmental groups, with most business organizations in favor. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the pipeline expansion this past November.

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