Ottawa/Fraser Valley – The NEB National Energy Board, said yes to the expansion and twinning of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline which rolls through the Fraser Valley and onto Burnaby. There are 157 conditions placed on this before Ottawa makes their decision, possibly in November.
The BC Chamber of Commerce approves the decision:
The BC Chamber welcomes the National Energy Board’s conditional approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project and urges the federal government to accept the recommendation and approve the project.
“Natural resources remain by far Canada’s largest export sector,” said Abbotsford Chamber President Josh Bach. “More than that, they are an important calling card on the world stage. As we look to expand trade beyond the US to Asia and Europe, our resources will be one of the key reasons why businesses and government leaders in these regions take our phone call.”
“This project is a big economic win for B.C. and for Canada,” added Maureen Kirkbride, BC
Chamber interim CEO. “This project will bring construction, operations and other indirect jobs to
B.C., while enabling our national oil resources to reach Asian markets.”
The BC Chamber has been a vocal supporter of the need to add additional pipeline capacity to the West Coast.
“Oil is a major source of Canada’s resource wealth and it’s currently getting trapped inland,” said Kirkbride. “This is a national problem and we need to stand with our fellow Canadians – and in particular, our Albertan neighbours – to support solutions.”
While the NEB decision is a step forward for the project, the federal government has announced that the project will now face an additional assessment process before it will receive a final decision. The BC Chamber will be closely watching this new process.
“It’s always disappointing to see goalposts moved midway through an approval process,” Kirkbride said. “We urge the federal government to honour the original approval timelines so as to avoid the additional impact of project delays.”
Kirkbride underlined the private sector’s need for certainty and predictability. “For businesses, the bottom line is always certainty and predictability,” she said. “For Canada to compete for private-sector investment dollars, we need to provide the predictable processes that businesses require – or we’ll sacrifice the jobs and economic benefits that those investments deliver.”
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is not happy with the decision, calling it misguided.
Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz also Chairs the FVRD Fraser Valley Regional District. Her office told FVN that the report is over 500 pages with 157 conditions for the Trans Mountain project. FVRD’s legal counsel will review the full report and will provide information to the Board for their consideration. As Mayor Gaetz is the Chair, she will have something to share after that time.
Surrey Board of Trade “Applauds” the Decision:
The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased the National Energy Board has recommended the federal government approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and believes the expansion will have a significant economic impact to Surrey, BC and Canada.
“Surrey residents will see substantial benefits as a result of the expansion. The City will collect over a million dollars in taxes annually, which will help pay for the services we all enjoy,” says Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT). “The Project will result in over a billion dollars of construction spending in the region, which create will a significant number of jobs focused on manufacturing goods, supplies, and vendors that will be needed during construction.”
Huberman says the Project will generate much needed revenues at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, which will boost the economy over the short and long terms. By contributing to taxes, investing in our infrastructure and exporting product to global markets, Trans Mountain will help solidify Surrey as a city where economic opportunities exist.
“As proponents of responsible resource development, the Surrey Board of Trade supports the Project and welcomes the good paying jobs it will create. The expansion has a national scope and we live in a competitive global economy. By unlocking access to world markets, communities across our country – including Surrey – will be provided new and lasting economic and community benefits.”
Huberman adds workers are expected to spend close to $160 million in the region during construction, on items such as accommodation, meals and clothing.
The Province of BC statement:
Environment Minister Mary Polak issued the following statement in response to the National Energy Board’s recommendation regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline:
“The National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended the Trans Mountain proposal be approved, with conditions, by the Government of Canada. The federal cabinet will now have to consider this and we look forward to their decision.
“Our government’s position has always been clear and consistent. We will only support new heavy-oil pipelines in British Columbia if our five conditions can be met. These conditions include the successful completion of the environmental review process, ensuring world-leading marine and land-based spill response, prevention and recovery systems are in place, ensuring legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed and First Nations are provided with the opportunities to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project, and, finally, that British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits from any proposed heavy-oil projects. The NEB has recommended that the federal government approve the project, subject to required conditions. I am very pleased to see some of the NEB’s conditions reflect B.C.’s five conditions.
“Final approval from the federal government partially addresses the first condition – successful completion of the environmental review process. A recent B.C. Supreme Court decision means the project will also require a provincial environmental assessment certificate. The Province can rely on the information from the environmental assessment conducted by the National Energy Board. However, as part of our assessment, we must be satisfied that Kinder Morgan has met its constitutional duty to adequately consult First Nations. Our Environmental Assessment Office will be consulting with Aboriginal groups around their understanding of how the project may impact Aboriginal interests and whether any additional accommodation may be required.
“Meeting all five conditions will be a challenge. We set the bar high for a reason. We need to ensure B.C.’s concerns around the environment, First Nations’ participation and overall economic benefit are taken seriously. The responsibility for meeting the five conditions is complex and will take a great deal of effort from both industry and governments.
“A significant amount of work has already gone toward establishing and meeting the five conditions, but we are not yet in a position to consider support for any heavy-oil pipeline in B.C. The Government of Canada is expected to make its final decision before the end of the year and we will continue to work with the proponent and all stakeholders to address B.C.’s needs.”