Project could have big economic benefits . . .
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal cabinet re-approved the Trans Mountain Expansion Project after its first approval was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal last year. The project is designed to carry up to one million barrels of oil from Alberta to the British Columbia coast daily. While the pipeline raises the possibility of damage to the environment and marine life, the National Energy Board argues the project will create 15,000 jobs and raise C$500 million in federal taxes each year.
But is there really demand in Asia? . . .
The project was initially viewed as an important step towards trade diversification, with the pipeline allowing Canadian energy producers to sell to Asian customers with growing demand, thus lessening Canada’s dependence on selling to U.S. buyers at a steep discount. However, David Anderson, a former Liberal environment minister, suggests it is unlikely Asia will be a major buyer of Canadian crude. He insists that Asian refineries have cheaper, better suppliers from Nigeria and the Middle East, and that the pipeline alone will not provide the advantages of a secure supply.
Construction or continued court dates? . . .
Cabinet’s approval sparked condemnation from First Nations and environmental groups, and the timing has drawn much criticism; the expansion was approved less than 24 hours after the House of Commons declared a national climate emergency. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney welcomed the decision and urged an aggressive construction timeline, while B.C. Premier John Horgan said he’s disappointed and vowed to continue legal challenges against the project. If the National Energy Board fast-tracks permits, it is estimated construction could start late this year.