The Canadian Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension project

The Canadian Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension project is a proposed pipeline that would run along the current pipeline, between Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia. The project was proposed with the intention of increasing economic benefits by providing $7.4 billion in government revenues and creating new jobs. The pipelines proposal stated that it would allow Canada to expand and diversify their oil markets to east coast U.S and northeast Asia and address the bottleneck in Canada’s pipeline network. The expansion would carry 500,000 additional barrels of oil from the Albertan tar sands every day. However, with most pipeline proposals in North America, this pipeline does not come without controversy.

The first point that was greatly criticized by Canadians, was that the Canadian government bought this pipeline for $4.5 billion. Originally, it was a project that was to be carried out by Kinder Morgan Canada, however the Trudeau Government made an offer to purchase the pipeline. This offer of sale was not approved until after the Federal Court of Appeal reversed the decision to approve this pipeline, leaving the Trudeau government now stuck purchasing this pipeline for an obscene cost.

In addition to the extreme cost of this pipeline, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) reversed the approval from the Energy Board to pursue the pipeline on the grounds that the Canadian government did not fulfill its duty to consult with First Nations that will be affected by the pipeline, nor did it consider the environmental effects of increased tanker traffic at the Burnaby port in British Columbia; this would pose as a detrimental threat to the recovering southern resident killer whale population.

Regardless of the potential consequences associated with this pipeline, the Canadian and Albertan Government have both made clear that they believe this project is vital to the energy security of Canadians. Increasing the diversification of who Canada imports their oil to, allows for an increase in flexibility and resilience while creating further relationships with other importing countries. Both governments have argued that this project provides economic benefits, employment benefits, indigenous benefits, and community benefits. Short-term, the economic security value of the tar sands market expansion will likely outweigh the climate consequences that the oil sands create, however climate concerns must equally be put as a priority.

Chloe Sterret

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