Canada extends deadline for Trans Mountain pipeline decision to June 18
(Adds Conservative opposition reaction)
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, April 18 (Reuters) - Canada has extended
the deadline for a decision on whether to push forward with the
expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline to June 18 from
mid-May, the government said on Thursday.
The Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) project would nearly
triple the amount of crude flowing from Alberta's oil sands to
British Columbia's coast, but has been beset by regulatory
delays and opposition from indigenous groups, environmentalists
and the government of British Columbia.
Amarjeet Sohi, Canada's minister of natural resources, said
the delay would give the federal Liberal government more time to
consult with indigenous groups impacted by the pipeline.
"The Government has consistently said that a decision would
only be made on the project once we are satisfied that the duty
to consult has been met," he said.
However, Conservative shadow minister for natural resource
Shannon Stubbs said the delay meant another summer construction
season would likely be missed.
"There is also still a very real risk that the Liberals will
cancel this project for political reasons," she said in a
Last August, the Canadian government bought the pipeline
from Kinder Morgan Canada for C$4.5 billion ($3.37
billion) to ensure it gets built.
That came after Canada's Federal Court of Appeal overturned
the Liberal government's 2016 approval to expand the pipeline.
The court ruled Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) regulator
had not considered marine impacts and the government had not
adequately consulted indigenous groups.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government ordered a new NEB
review of Trans Mountain last September, and in February the
regulator recommended the government approve it a second time.
The NEB also made new recommendations to mitigate harm to
Pacific Ocean killer whales, which environmentalists warn will
face disruption from increased oil tanker traffic.
Alberta's Premier-designate Jason Kenney, who won a
landslide election victory in the oil-rich province on Tuesday,
said he had spoken with Trudeau about the delay.
"I agree with the Prime Minister that they need to make sure
they cross every 't' and dot every 'i' when it comes to
discharging the federal government's duty to consult," Kenney
told a news conference. "We certainly do not want them to go
back to the drawing board a third time on this."
RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Tran said the short
delay to the decision would not materially impact the energy
"The government is taking its time to make sure the right
decision is made and it's communicated the right way to the
masses," Tran said.
Trudeau's Liberals face a federal election later this year
in which the environment and pipelines will be major issues.
($1 = 1.3363 Canadian dollars)
(Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa
Editing by Bernadette Baum, Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)
First Published: 2019-04-18 17:33:47
Updated 2019-04-18 22:23:48
© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.