Ottawa To Decide The Fate Of The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion This Week

Ottawa will decide on Tuesday of this week whether to greenlight the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would bring oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia for shipment overseas.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will decide Tuesday the fate of the pipeline that the federal government bought in 2018 for $4.5 billion. The Liberal government was forced to put the project through a new consultation process after a Federal Court of Appeal canceled past cabinet approvals for the long-delayed project and halted construction last summer.

The court said the government did not adequately consult Indigenous communities before it first approved the project in November 2016. The court also said the National Energy Board (NEB) did not do enough to study the effects of the pipeline expansion on the marine environment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

The NEB did the required environmental review and conditionally approved the pipeline expansion in February of this year. Citing the need for more time to finish Indigenous consultations, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi put the decision off to June 18.

Trudeau’s cabinet meets on Tuesday of this week and a final decision is expected to be made by ministers on that day. Even if the project secures cabinet approval, the expansion could be delayed by further litigation from Indigenous and environmental opponents who oppose the expansion, which would see a million barrels of oil a day transported by pipeline from Alberta to a shipping terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.