Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ottawa removes regulatory red tape for Trans Mountain pipeline | CBC News

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Ahead of Canada’s plan to move the Trans Mountain pipeline to Indigenous ownership, the federal government is changing how it manages the pipeline, according to a notice published Wednesday on the federal government’s official newspaper, Canada Gazette.

The Canada Development Investment Corporation and Trans Mountain Corporation will no longer need authorization from a top official, the governor in council, to make transactions like incorporating subsidiaries.

“[These changes] would allow them to organize themselves in a way that allows Trans Mountain to compete effectively in the sector and facilitate Indigenous economic participation in Trans Mountain,” the notice said, adding Ottawa eventually plans to transfer ownership of Trans Mountain “in whole or in part” to Indigenous groups.

Canada bought the pipeline system in 2018. At the time, it could ship 300,000 barrels of oil per day. 

The federal government oversaw the expansion of the pipeline, which can now ship about 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific coast.

According to the Canada Gazette notice, the project was “a necessary and serious investment in the national interest,” adding the pipeline has increased the country’s GDP by $26.3 billion and will create “thousands of middle-class jobs.”

Trans Mountain Corporation estimates the pipeline and related port activities will emit about 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, that’s roughly the same as the annual emissions from 95,000 gas-powered cars.

The pipeline expansion has been steeped in controversy. A number of First Nations leaders have spoken out against the pipeline’s impact on the environment.

The chief of the Coldwater First Nation raised concerns over how the pipeline may affect groundwater near the Nation. Secwépemc matriarch Miranda Dick has protested the pipeline for how it may affect water near her homelands. 

But Indigenous-led groups have expressed interest in buying the pipeline, including the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, Project Reconciliation and the Alberta-based Iron Coalition.

The new pipeline began commercial operations this month after years of regulatory delays and construction setbacks. In the six years since Ottawa bought Trans Mountain, its cost has ballooned from $7.3 billion to more than $34 billion.

Trans Mountain said it expects to load the first vessel with oil from the expanded pipeline this month.

On Monday, tanker Dubai Angel moored at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C., preparing to load the first cargo of crude oil from the pipeline.

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