Ottawa orders new regulatory review of Trans Mountain pipeline
The Canadian government today directed its National Energy Board (NEB) regulator to conduct a new review of its application to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, taking into account the impact of additional marine traffic.
Expansion of the pipeline, which the government bought last month from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd, has become a political liability for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, ahead of federal and provincial elections next year. According to Reuters, delays have frustrated Albertans, prompting Notley to withdraw from Trudeau’s national plan to curb carbon emissions.
The NEB must report to cabinet within 22 weeks, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal last month overturned the Liberal government’s 2016 approval for expanding the pipeline, which runs from Alberta’s oil heartland to the British Columbia coast.
The timeline for the review, stretching to late February 2019, allows the government to potentially restart construction before the expected spring election in Alberta.
Sohi declined to say when construction could resume.