Ottawa Approves Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

As had been widely expected, the federal government has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that will carry a million barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta to a shipping terminal in British Columbia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet approved the Trans Mountain expansion on Tuesday after affirming the National Energy Board's conclusion that the project is in the national interest and could contribute tens of billions of dollars to government coffers and create thousands of new jobs.

At a news conference Tuesday, Trudeau committed to directing every single dollar the federal government earns from the pipeline — which is estimated at $500 million a year in federal corporate tax revenue — to investments in unspecified clean energy projects. Any government proceeds from the eventual sale of the pipeline will also be earmarked for projects that focus on clean energy. Ottawa bought the pipeline in 2018 for $4.5 billion.

Trudeau said building the project, which will help deliver Canadian oil to the west coast for shipment to lucrative markets in Asia, will ensure that Canada is not dependent on selling its natural resources only to the neighbouring United States.

Ottawa expects construction work to start on the pipeline expansion later this year. Environmental and indigenous groups have vowed to continue fighting the pipelines expansion in court, saying it poses a threat to the environment and marine life.