Federal Liberals raise Alberta's hopes for speedier pipeline approvals
Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet ministers arrived in Kananaskis, Alberta this week for a three-day cabinet meeting. The PM chose Alberta because it desperately needs an economic boost.
Trudeau took time out of his busy schedule to meet with Premier Notley. Both parties concluded that the federal and provincial governments are aligned on pipelines and the environment.
The federal government imposed new delays on Energy East, the Trans Mountain expansion and placed a moratorium on oil tanker in northern BC shortly after they took office late last year. However, the Liberals appear to be softening their stance, perhaps in response to Alberta's pain and suffering.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr now calls the approval dates the "latest at which the government will decide", suggesting projects could be approved before the new deadlines. Transportation Minister Marc Garneau noted the government is still working towards implementing the moratorium on oil tankers but failed to provide a timeline. Trudeau vowed to kill Northern Gateway during his election campaign. The PM stopped short of confirming the project is dead under his watch but reiterated that the Great Bear Rainforest "is no place for a crude pipeline".
Northern Gateway was approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) with over 200 conditions. Environmental, economic and social assessments for pipeline approvals rest with the NEB, but final approval must come from the federal government.