Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines approved, Northern Gateway dismissed

With files from Liam Harrap, Maureen McEwan and Maggie Parkhill

On Tuesday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain and Enbridge Line pipelines while rejecting the Northern Gateway pipeline. At a press conference late in the afternoon, Trudeau, flanked by several prominent ministers, made the announcement regarding Canada’s economic future.

The announcement was eagerly awaited in question period today. Opposition leaders strongly enforced the need to get Canada’s resources to market and to secure the livelihoods of energy workers. Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland) said “Canadians want jobs… their livelihoods and futures are at risk.” The Conservatives also asked the Prime Minister if he can ensure pipelines will get built.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair commented that by approving pipelines, the prime minister “betrayed the confidence of B.C. voters.” Trudeau responded by saying “we understand that you cannot build a strong economy without protecting the environment,” and said that the previous government had failed to do so.

“We need to get our resources to market in a responsible sustainable way that respects science and indigenous communities,” said Trudeau.

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project would deliver diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to a tanker terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The $6.8 billion dollar pipeline will be subject to 157 binding conditions and create 15,000 new jobs. Transporting diluted bitumen to the coast would increase output from 300,000 barrels a day to more than 800,000 barrels a day, according to the Kinder Morgan website. Tanker traffic could increase by as much as seven-fold.

Protesters of the controversial pipeline are concerned about increased oil tanker traffic, indigenous rights, and contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. Vigils were held nationwide last week in anticipation and protestation of the announcement, while earlier in the week thousands rallied in Vancouver.

During the press conference Trudeau said, “There isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of gallons of oil and leave it in the ground.”


“Kayaktivist” protest held in May at Kinder Morgan tanker terminal in Burnaby, B.C. Photo by Marina Wang

Enbridge Line 3

The Line 3 replacement pipeline is Enbridge’s largest project to date and is “an integral part of Enbridge’s Mainline System,” according to the Enbridge website. Line 3 runs for 1,659 kilometres from Hardisty, AB, to northern Wisconsin. The existing pipeline has been a site for spills in the past, including a 2010 spill in which 3.8 million litres of oil was released into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

The pipeline currently carries “light” crude oils but an updated project would enable the pipeline to carry heavier oil mixes such as diluted bitumen. The $7.5 billion dollar project would double the existing pipeline’s volume to 760,000 barrels a day.

Enbridge Northern Gateway

Trudeau has said that the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline “is not in the best interest of local communities” and “the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.” He also announced a moratorium on oil tanker shipping on BC’s northern coast.

The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would have carried diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands through northern B.C. to an export terminal on the Pacific coast. The $7.9 billion project was approved under 209 conditions by the previous Harper government in 2014, but was overturned by the Federal Court as it found that Indigenous people were not adequately consulted.

“Our duty is to permit infrastructure so Canada’s resources get to market in a more environmentally-responsible way, creating jobs and a thriving economy,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr in a press release. “Today’s announcement also demonstrates that when the Government determines projects are not in the public interest, we will act accordingly make the tough decisions.”

Author: Marina Wang

Marina’s early love of nature and wildlife led her to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. After university she worked at La Hesperia Biological Station in the cloud forests of Ecuador and travelled throughout much of South America. During her eight months of geographical and personal exploration, Marina began a travel blog which piqued an interest in writing. She realizes the many communication gaps that exist between science and the media and hopes to bridge this schism. Current topics of interest are scientific discoveries and innovations, environmental philosophy and sustainability, and the search for a quantum theory of gravity.

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