National Energy Board recommends Trans Mountain approval

National Energy Board recommends Trans Mountain approval

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is back on for potential cabinet approval following reconsideration by the National Energy Board.

But with only 74 resident orcas left, those against the pipeline are vowing to stop it.

The court found the federal government's Phase 3 consultation process with Indigenous peoples was a "failure". "This is deeply irresponsible", Inslee said in a prepared statement.

The court's ruling in 2018, which forced the National Energy Board to reconsider the issue, initially handed a victory to indigenous leaders and environmentalists who have pledged to do whatever is necessary to thwart the pipeline, including chaining themselves to construction equipment.

"We will review those conditions and see how we can meet them ..."

Canada wants to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline in order to ship bitumen oil to Asia in hopes of gaining higher oil prices than its market in the U.S.

After watching this process unfold, I expect the project will be recommended for approval.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the pipeline expansion is in the national economic interest, and it has support from business groups, oil industry workers and the province of Alberta.

Meanwhile Eugene Kung with West Coast Environmental Law, says the decision makes numerous same mistakes in the first review, although lawsuits might have to wait until after the cabinet grants final approval on the project.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Television that while the government wouldn't commit to a firm timeline for its decision, the government is in "a strong position" to make a ruling within that 90-day timeframe.

"The Trans Mountain Pipeline is not in the public interest and will never be built", Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth's worldwide program director, said in an emailed statement.

In addition, the NEB has made 16 recommendations to the Government of Canada related to Project-related marine shipping, including: cumulative effects management for the Salish Sea, measures to offset increased underwater noise and increased strike risk posted to SARA-listed marine mammal and fish species, marine oil spill response, marine shipping and small vessel safety, reduction of GHG emissions from marine vessels, and the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Project.

But Judy Wilson, chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band in British Columbia, said the decision is not a surprise considering the government owns the pipeline. "This pipeline will never, ever see the light of day". Washington tribes fiercely oppose the expansion because of concern over their treaty-protected fishing rights and the survival of the endangered orca whales that frequent Puget Sound, regarded as a family member in tribal cultures. It counts as just one factor in considering if the project will be moving forward.

"As a lawyer I'm kind of excited because it means we're probably going to be in court soon, but as a Canadian I'm very disappointed because what is clearly happening is a continuation of this pattern of treating consultation like a burden rather than a duty", Kung said. "The thought of killer whales disappearing ... is absolutely unthinkable". Pollution, industrial waste, and climate change do not recognize this border.

She said her Conservatives called for "immediate emergency retroactive legislation to affirm the NEB's determination that Transport Canada, as the federal department that regulates shipping, was the appropriate department to assess the impact of marine traffic related to the Trans Mountain expansion".

NDP candidate for Burnaby-North Seymour Svend Robinson said it approving the project would show "total contempt" for residents and First Nations living on Burrard Inlet and the Liberals would do so at their own peril.

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