Clark says Ottawa close to meeting BC pipeline conditions


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Premier Christy Clark finally broke her silence and addressed the federal government’s decision to approve the $6.8 billion Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would carry bitumen from Alberta to BC’s coast.

Prior to the announcement, the BC Liberals had laid out five conditions that had to be met by Ottawa for the project to go ahead. Those conditions include: regulatory approval, there must be world-leading spill response, there must be Indigenous participation and BC has to receive its fair share of the economic benefits.

“We’ve said these conditions are the path to get to ‘yes’ for any project from Alberta that is proposed and that would move through British Columbia,” says Clark.

She claims she’s happy with the progress made by the federal government on these conditions, but she admits there is still a lot of work to do.

“We still need some details on the Ocean Protection Plan and we’re still working with the federal government so we can be absolutely certain that our coast is protected. And we still need to work out some details to make sure British Columbia is getting its fair share of the jobs and economic benefits of this project,” adds Clark.

Yesterday, the prime minister and Clark spoke on the phone about the project’s approval and she says she has invited Justin Trudeau to BC to explain to people why his government gave Kinder Morgan the green light. “I told him that I very much look forward to him coming to British Columbia to share his thinking behind the decision that he and his cabinet has made. I think it’s important he make that argument here in British Columbia where so many people are passionate on either side of the project.”

No word from Ottawa whether Trudeau will make the trip out here.

Clark wouldn’t say how many of the conditions have been met — she would only reiterate that progress has been made on all of them.
The premier was put on the spot by reporters about her position on the project and that despite talking about this project for nearly five years, she hasn’t taken a direct stance, given we’re just months away from a provincial election.

“What I’m saying today is [the federal government] is substantially close to meeting the five conditions, but we’re not quite there yet. What British Columbians expect is not quick, easy, inconsistent answers and changes of position on this — what British Columbians expect is their premier is going to stand up, fight to protect our province, find the balance between economy and jobs and I think in the approval process I think the federal government has got very close.”

The project isn’t sitting well with everyone. Hundreds of people packed into the square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery downtown last night, noisily promising the fight against the Trans Mountain expansion will continue.

For supporters in the Energy Sector, this move was a welcomed one. Tim McMillan, head of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says “Canada’s reputation as a place that can move projects forward” got a boost.

While one analyst predicts the Trans Mountain project will help oil producers reap higher prices by exporting to the Asia market.

Alberta premier coming to BC

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she will head to BC as early as next week to make the case for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Environment advocates, First Nations groups and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson have all come out against the Kinder Morgan project.

Notley says she will point out that Alberta is already acting on multiple fronts to reduce greenhouse gases, including capping emissions from the oil sands.

Prime Minister Trudeau shelved the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline across northwestern BC and said legislation banning tankers on BC’s northwest Pacific coast is coming soon.

NEWS1130’s Kenny Mason has the full details and reaction from Premier Christy Clark:

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