Ottawa/Calgary – On Friday , the National Energy Board (NEB) released its report and recommendations on the Reconsideration Hearing, one of two reports that will be considered by the Governor in Council when making its final decision on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

“The NEB Report released today is a step forward in the Reconsideration Process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. It provides specific and achievable conditions under which we must operate to ensure, if approved, the Project will protect the marine and terrestrial environment and communities. This report is an important element of the broader process that remains underway, which includes the federal government’s consultation with Indigenous communities. We look forward to the successful conclusion of these consultations and the decision that will be provided on the Project in the months ahead,” says Ian Anderson, President and CEO of Trans Mountain.

The 700-page reconsideration report has been given to the Federal Government.

The Project will be subject to 156 conditions. The conditions are enforced by the NEB and demonstrate the rigour and detail that will go into every stage of the Project to mitigate risks, respect the rights of those directly affected and operate safely, should the Project be approved. In addition, Trans Mountain has made hundreds of commitments to address concerns raised by the public, local and provincial governments and Indigenous communities that encompass a wide range of areas. Trans Mountain is required by the NEB to implement each and every one of these commitments.

Chilliwack Councilor and FVRD Chair Jason Lum posted to Facebook: I’ve had a couple of requests to comment on the NEB decision today re: the TMX project. My initial reaction is that the decision should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. The recognition by the NEB that the project “will cause significant adverse environmental effects” on southern killer whale populations, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions, is nothing new. Unfortunately the narrow scope of the reconsideration didn’t include a reconsideration of routing which runs directly through the salmon spawning habitat of the Browne Creek Wetlands, and through our drinking water aquifer. It will be interesting to see how the Trudeau cabinet deals with the decision. They have 90 days.

Ernie Crey, First Nations elder and Chair, Indigenous Caucus:“I’m glad to see that the National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended that Canada work with the IAMC on a marine safety system for the Salish Sea,” said Chief Ernie Crey (Chair, Indigenous Caucus)

“We’re building capacity in Indigenous communities to work with federal regulators on marine inspections and enforcement,” he added. “At a recent meeting of Indigenous communities from along the pipeline corridor and shipping lanes, participants told us that marine stewardship is a top priority,” said Chief Crey. “Indigenous peoples want an integral role in Emergency Management and spill response planning. I see in today’s report that the NEB has heard the same message too,” he added.
“IAMC’s Indigenous Caucus participated in the NEB Reconsideration Hearings, and there’s much more work to be done,” said Chief Crey. “If this pipeline and shipping expansion is approved then it must be built to the highest standards of safety and protection of the environment and Indigenous interests.”

As expected, critics of the pipeline including the David Suzuki Foundation, expressed their disgust:

The National Energy Board (NEB) recommended that the Trans Mountain pipeline project be approved by federal cabinet, assuming project proponents meet certain requirements around Indigenous consultation and reducing the harmful effects of increased marine traffic on the nearby marine environment – notably, the 74 remaining imperiled southern resident orcas.

“Today’s NEB review ignores the true risks that increased tanker traffic – or worse, a catastrophic oil spill – pose to the local marine environment,” David Suzuki Foundation director-general for Western Canada Jay Ritchlin said. “We’re already not doing enough to project the 74 remaining southern resident orcas. Their future is literally in question. We simply cannot justify more hazards to their environment – like the increased marine traffic, vessel noise and pollution this project would create – and I cannot see how this recommendation is in the ‘national interest.’”

Elizabeth May of the Federal Green party as well as UBCIC – Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, West Coast Environmental Law and have expressed their displeasure with the ruling.

The Surrey Board of Trade is very happy with the decision stating that this is good business:

“The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased that the NEB has recommended the Trans Mountain project to proceed,” said Anita Huberman, Surrey Board of Trade CEO. “Now we wait for the 90-day window for the Federal Government to make their decision on the pipeline.”

“Canada needs to move our crude oil to ports through the pipeline to lucrative overseas markets. We hope the project moves forward expediently.”

“The Trans Mountain Expansion Project – a $7.4-billion project – will spur significant economic activity, locally and globally. Moving crude oil by rail through suburbs is far more hazardous than using state-of-the art pipeline technology. A portion of the new construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline will go through Surrey, British Columbia.”

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), whose member companies will be major constructors of the project, along with thousands of Alberta and B.C. construction workers, is pleased with the National Energy Board’s recommendation that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project should proceed. The NEB reconsideration report concludes that the project is in Canada’s national interest, setting out new 16 conditions on how the Trans Mountain pipeline project should move forward.

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