VIDEO: Premier says B.C. now ‘very close’ to Yes on Trans Mountain pipeline

Christy Clark says Prime Minister Trudeau should come to B.C. to explain why he approved Kinder Morgan project

Premier Christy Clark says Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is now “very close” to winning B.C. government support.

But she stopped short of outright endorsing the controversial pipeline a day after it won approval from the federal government.

“Almost all of the conditions have been met and significant progress has been made on all of them,” Clark told reporters Wednesday, referring to B.C.’s five conditions to support a new heavy oil pipeline.

Asked which conditions have been met, she said more detail is needed from Ottawa on how its new Ocean Protection Plan will ensure world-class marine spill prevention and response, not just with regard to oil tankers but all marine vessel traffic.

And more work is needed to determine a “fair share” of the project benefits and jobs for B.C. – the province’s fifth condition.

“Those would be the two areas where there’s still some work to do. In terms of the other areas, that work is done,” Clark said.

RELATED: Trudeau green lights Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects Northern Gateway

Her declaration that B.C.’s other three pipeline conditions have been met drew criticism and did not acknowledge a point made Tuesday by Environment Minister Mary Polak, who noted B.C. still awaits the outcome of the provincial environmental assessment. Successful receipt of all regulatory approvals is B.C.’s first condition.

First Nations opposed to the project also took issue with the implication that the project will address legal requirements on aboriginal and treaty rights and give First Nations opportunities to benefit – the fourth condition.

The other condition Clark indicated is met is to ensure world-leading spill prevention, response and recovery systems on land.

Clark said she her position on the project hasn’t changed “one iota” since B.C. spelled out its conditions, insisting they helped push the federal government to commit to much better marine protection.

VIDEO: Pipeline approval protested and praised

She is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to defend his decision to approve the project on the ground in B.C.

“When I spoke to the prime minister yesterday I told him I very much look forward to him coming to British Columbia to share his thinking behind the decision he and his cabinet have made,” Clark said. “Come to British Columbia, our province, and talk to the people here about why he believes that this project is indeed in the national interest.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley indicated she will visit B.C. as early as next week to make the case for the pipeline expansion.

NDP critic George Heyman said no world-class spill response is available for heavy oil, regardless of what Clark suggests.

“It’s hard to see how the premier can say her conditions are being met,” he said.

Heyman said B.C.’s assessment is only taking place because of a court decision that it’s required to address aboriginal consultation requirements, adding the province’s equivalency agreement with Ottawa means B.C. accepts the federal NEB review in all other respects.

On B.C.’s fair share, there has been speculation as to whether it could involve a toll on each barrel of oil moved to fund environmental protection, or even a deal with Alberta to buy B.C. electricity once the Site C hydroelectric project is finished.

“She may be negotiating with Alberta. She may be negotiating with Kinder Morgan. Whatever it is is happening behind closed doors.”

Federal green light just one milestone: Kinder Morgan CEO

Trans Mountain pipeline construction is slated to begin for 2017, Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson said following the federal government’s approval of the project.

However, he noted that the federal government’s approval of the project is just one stage.

“Yesterday was a very important milestone for us but it is just that, a milestone – the journey isn’t over and we’ve still got lots of hard work to do.”

Part of that is waiting for the B.C. government’s environmental approval.

“I’m not sure when we will get that certificate. We’ve provided them with lots of information and met their needs. I hope to get it soon but I don’t have any timeline,” said Anderson.

Kinder Morgan is working with the province on the five conditions they’ve outline for the project, Anderson said, including the fifth one that says B.C. must get a share of benefits in line with the risk it bears.

“I echo the words of Premier Christy Clark in that we’re making progress on all conditions, including condition five.”

Anderson said that despite legal challenges from First Nations and protests that show no sign of shrinking, he’s confident that the project will go ahead as planned.

“I don’t think I’d be sitting here today saying what I was saying if I didn’t believe we could continue on the path of building and executing this project.”

Costs for the Trans Mountain pipeline remain at $6.8 billion for now but the company is reviewing all costs and will be providing their shippers with an updated estimate early next year.

– with files from Katya Slepian

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Nuxalk Nation receives over $4 million in funding for Big House

The funding is joint federal, provincial and municipal and will support 24 infrastructure projects

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Most Read