Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet have reapproved the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, with government profits from the tax revenues and other funds to be put toward clean energy ventures, the Prime Minister announced Tuesday.
The expansion project was first approved in 2016 but in August 2018, the Federal Court of Appeal stopped the approval and ordered a reconsideration of the project by the National Energy Board, CNN news partner CBC reported.
The expansion consists of creating a second pipeline alongside the existing 714-mile pipeline in Canada between Strathcona County in Alberta and Burnaby in British Columbia, which will increase the capacity of 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 890,000 barrels per day.
“We also believe that (the project) could solve the core of economic challenge we currently face, it’s really simple. Right now, we basically have only one customer for our energy resources, the United States. As we’ve seen over the past few years, anything can happen with our neighbors to the south,” Trudeau told reporters.
“Every business person knows that when you only have a single customer you’re in a weaker position, you’re vulnerable to that customer’s desires, to changes in the market and policy orientation. We don’t think that’s an acceptable situation for Canada,” he added.
Additional corporate tax revenue could be around $500 million per year, Trudeau said, That money along with any profit from the sales of the pipeline will go into the clean energy projects, he added.
The project, which will include 980 kilometers (609 miles) of new pipeline designed primarily to carry heavy oils, has previously been opposed by the indigenous people of the First Nations communities in Canada.
The government said it made eight accommodation measures to the First Nations after consulting with the groups.
And Trudeau said indigenous people would make money from the expansion.
“We’ll also work with Indigenous groups to make sure they can directly benefit financially from this project – including through equity ownership or revenue sharing,” he tweeted.
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs weren’t supporting the plan.
“This decision is disappointing, but not a surprise. Tsleil-Waututh (Nation) again engaged in consultation in good faith, but it was clear that the federal government had already made up their mind as the owners of the project.” said Chief Leah George-Wilson.
Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said they didn’t accept the government’s decision and would oppose the project “through any means necessary.”
Trudeau didn’t specify when construction would resume but said the company intends to have shovels in the ground during this construction season, which runs into September and October.