NEB releases Reconsideration report for Trans Mountain Expansion Project

National Energy Board to release reconsideration report for Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion Friday

"While a credible worst-case spill from the project or a project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant", the NEB said.

The NEB says those factors weighed heavily in its decision but that they can be 'justified in the circumstances in light of the considerable benefits of the project and measures to minimize the effects'.

Alberta has been fighting hard for the expansion, which would allow more oil to be shipped to coastal ports and from there to more lucrative overseas markets.

"I think it's imperative to note that our ultimate objective is pipeline construction, and certainly railway cars highlight the economic desperation in our province", says Veer.

"A lot of work had already been underway with respect to the project itself", she said.

In September, the federal cabinet ordered a 22-week review period to address the marine impacts raised in the court's ruling before releasing a final report and recommendations no later than February 22.

Many indigenous people see the 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of new pipeline as a threat to their lands, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the U.S.

The NEB's 689-page report now goes to Trudeau and his Cabinet, which by law has 90 days to respond.

It's given 16 new recommendations created to better protect marine life on the B.C. coast. They are outside the board's power to enact, but could be put in place by Ottawa, Steedman said.

Among those recommendations are measures to offset increased underwater noise and the greater chance that a whale could be hit by a ship.

Over 70 killed as major fire rips through Bangladesh capital
Shopowner Haji Abdul Kader told Agence France-Presse he "heard a big bang", and then "saw the whole street in flames". Firemen said they struggled to get enough water to douse the flames and had to pump supplies from a nearby mosque.

This second approval from the NEB is being called a milestone by the Trudeau government, but it says there is still work to be done.

Notley said she didn't expect the cabinet to approve the project before Alberta's provincial election, which must happen by May, but she did expect it before the federal election, which could happen as late as October. On the very day Kinder Morgan shareholders agreed to sell most of the company's Canadian assets to Ottawa, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed approvals, demanding changes before construction could resume.

The original proponent of the expansion, Kinder Morgan, halted all essential spending last spring after the B.C. NDP government launched a series of legal manoeuvres created to thwart construction. This is why the Trans Mountain pipeline project, like Energy East, Keystone XL, and Northern Gateway before it, and Line 3 now, have faced years of delays or outright cancellations. "We will continue to stand up for B.C. and defend our environment, the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on it, and southern resident orcas from the risk of an oil spill".

The previous Crown consultation team believed, erroneously, that it could not add more conditions to the project than those the National Energy Board (NEB) already imposed as part of its Phase 2 consultation, the court found. "The B.C. Green caucus has been clear that this project is not in the interests of British Columbians".

Environmental groups were quick to react to the decision.

However, the more-than-700-mile-long pipeline should be approved by the government anyway, the board found, because it is in Canada's national interest.

"The fix was in on this from the start", said Kung, who cited the review's limited scope and failure to consider salmon-spawning streams that provide food for killer whales.

But Judy Wilson, chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band in British Columbia, said the decision is not a surprise considering the government owns the pipeline.

Ottawa in September directed the board to conduct a new review of its application to almost triple the capacity of Trans Mountain, which the government bought for C$4.5 billion ($3.43 billion) a year ago from Kinder Morgan Canada to ensure it gets built.

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