Alberta remains skeptical despite Ottawa spelling out a reasonable timeline for the National Energy Board to redo its environmental review on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, Premier Rachel Notley says.
“We still remain a little bit skeptical … as a result we will be watching very closely,” Notley said at a Friday news conference. “Our concern has always been … the NEB process having to restart.”
Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the NEB has 22 weeks to complete its environmental review, this time taking into account the impact of additional oil tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia due to an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.
“We are confident that this plan will allow us to meet the high standards that Canadians expect when it comes to protecting the environment,” he said in Halifax Friday, where he is hosting G7 energy ministers for meetings.
The review will include looking at how the additional tankers may impact killer whales — it’s estimated the number of tankers will rise to 35 per month from about five per month.
Notley said the timeline laid out by Ottawa is reasonable and is in line with “the best case scenario” after the ruling.
In August, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval given to the expansion project by the NEB and cabinet in 2016, citing lack of consultation with Indigenous communities and a failure to properly consider the marine shipping issue.
The ruling marked a triumph for Indigenous groups and environmentalists who opposed the project and spurred Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. to halt construction-related activities to twin the existing pipeline from Strathcona County to Burnaby, B.C.
“There is a way to work with the court decision that is in place, and that’s the better route,” Notley said. “Should it start to appear that game-playing is working, we will hold Ottawa’s feet to the fire.”
She said Alberta had looked to the federal government to use legislation to assert its authority over the NEB and close loopholes