A clear message has emerged through the Canadian government’s extensive consultations with its population: the economy and the environment go hand in hand. That is why the country is now pricing carbon pollution, making the most significant investment ever to protect Canada’s oceans and coastlines, instituting world-leading safety standards for pipelines by passing the Pipeline Safety Act, and signing the Vancouver Declaration with the provinces and territories on clean growth and climate change.
The commitments to renewable energy, investments in clean energy and protecting the country’s coasts and oceans will grow its economy while protecting the environment Canadians cherish. On 30 November, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, and Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, announced several important decisions that will create more good, middle class jobs while protecting environmentally-sensitive areas.
Trans Mountain expansion project
The Government has approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project, subject to 157 binding conditions that will address potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts, including project engineering, safety and emergency preparedness. This CAN$6.8 billion project will create 15 000 new jobs during construction by twinning the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton (Alberta) and Burnaby (British Columbia). It will also provide access to global markets and generate significant direct economic benefits, including CAN$4.5 billion in federal and provincial government revenues.
Northern Gateway pipeline project
The government has directed the National Energy Board (NEB) to dismiss Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project application. The government has determined that the project is not in the public interest, given that it would result in crude oil tankers transiting through the sensitive ecosystem of the Douglas Channel, which is part of the Great Bear Rainforest.
The government has announced a moratorium on crude and persistent oil tankers along British Columbia’s north coast. This area spans the Alaska-British Columbia border down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and includes Haida Gwaii. The government made this decision following consultations with stakeholders including Indigenous groups and communities. The government will introduce legislation to implement the moratorium by the spring of 2017.
Line 3 replacement project
The Government has approved Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project, subject to 37 binding conditions that will address potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts. This will ensure that the pipeline and facilities are built and operated in a manner that is safe for Canadians and the environment. This CAN$4.8 billion project will replace 1067 km of existing pipeline from Hardisty (Alberta) to Gretna (Manitoba) to enhance its safety and integrity. The project will generate significant economic benefits, including CAN$514.7 million in federal and provincial government revenues and 7000 new jobs during construction. It also provides a vital link to the North American refinery market for Canadian oil.
In making its decision to approve the Trans Mountain expansion project and the Line 3 replacement project, the Government took into consideration a wide variety of information and data, including the NEB’s recommendation report, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions, the views of Canadians and enhanced consultations with Indigenous peoples. The report from the Ministerial Panel for the Trans Mountain expansion project was also considered. The outcomes of all of these processes are available to Canadians online.
The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities. To address specific interests identified by Indigenous groups and to build on existing partnerships some have with the proponent, the government announced that it will co-develop advisory and monitoring committees with Indigenous communities to provide ongoing environmental monitoring for each of the two projects. The government will also establish an economic pathways partnership for each pipeline that will make it easier for Indigenous groups to access existing federal programmes that help them participate in and benefit economically from this project.
In reaching its decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline project, the government considered the joint review panel report, the views of Indigenous communities and those of other Canadians as represented to the joint review panel, as well as the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal.
Carr commented: “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. Today’s announcements also demonstrate that when the government determines projects are not in the public interest, we will act accordingly and make the tough decisions.”
Garneau, stated: “Canadians expect the Government of Canada to help grow the economy while protecting the environment. This tanker moratorium is another example of how this can be achieved, and shows our commitment to establishing a world-leading marine safety system that meets the unique needs of Canada from coast to coast to coast.”