Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the Northern Gateway project has been rejected by the federal government.
At a press conference in Ottawa this afternoon, Trudeau said the Northern Gateway project is not in the best interest of those who would have been affected by the diluted bitumen pipeline.
The prime minister emphasized energy project approvals would have to meet rigorous environmental standards and also be in the national interest, as well as have the approval of Indigenous peoples.
Given those pre-conditions, Trudeau also announced the approval of Kinder Morgan’s contentious Trans Mountain project that will twin an existing pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby.
When asked if his government had consulted, but not listened to opponents of the Trans Mountain project, Trudeau said that there will never be a consensus on major projects and points to the 39 First Nations communities who have signed benefits agreements worth $300-million.
He added Canadians don’t want to choose between protecting the environment or have a growing economy, and said the decisions today allow for both.
But Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen strongly criticized the approval, saying the consultations were inadequate and points to Trudeau’s own criticisms of the approval process prior to taking office as prime minister.
He repeated Trudeau’s own words saying while governments can issue permits, only the people can give permission.
Cullen says it’s certain opposition to the Kinder Morgan project will continue.
Cullen is also cautiously optimistic about legislation to be introduced next spring that will ban crude oil tanker traffic along the north coast.
He introduced a similar non-binding motion six years ago in Ottawa that passed, but it didn’t become a bill.
The Coastal First Nations, an alliance of First Nations communities from the central and north coast are celebrating the tanker ban and the end of the Northern Gateway project.
Patrick Kelly of the CFN says there’s still much work to be done to protect B.C.’s coasts.
He also hopes the Coastal First Nations will be consulted on the tanker ban bill as they have thousands of years of experience in these waters.
Today’s announcement also included the approval of Enbridge’s $7.5-billion Line 3 expansion project from Alberta to Wisconsin.