Quantcast

Trudeau Government Approves Trans Mountain Expansion a Day After Canada Declares Climate Emergency

Politics
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivering remarks to supporters at a Liberal Climate Action Rally in Toronto, Ontario on March 4. Arindam Shivaani / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government would once again approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the amount of oil transported from Alberta's tar sands to the coast of British Columbia (BC).


The decision comes a day after Canada's House of Commons passed a non-binding resolution declaring a climate emergency, as CBC News reported. The timing prompted environmental activists to charge the Trudeau government with hypocrisy, since the House motion was proposed by the government.

"This is like declaring war on cancer and then announcing a campaign to promote smoking," Rainforest Action Network energy program director Patrick McCully told CBC News.

Trudeau's cabinet followed the ruling of the National Energy Board that the pipeline could harm the environment and marine life, but could create thousands of jobs and earn the federal government tens of billions of dollars. Trudeau pledged to invest all of that revenue in developing renewable energy.

"We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future. We need resources to invest in Canadians so they can take advantage of the opportunities generated by a rapidly changing economy, here at home and around the world," Trudeau said.

However, pipeline opponents argued that the climate crisis was too urgent for the government to be investing in more fossil fuel infrastructure. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in October of last year that greenhouse gas emissions must fall to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

"The federal government has signed off on as much as an additional 15 million tonnes (approximately 16.5 million U.S. tons) of carbon. This is irresponsible at a time when Canada is drifting further away from meeting our Paris climate commitment, and inconsistent with the climate emergency that was declared only yesterday," Environmental Defence Executive Director Tim Gray told CBC News.

A senior government official told Reuters anonymously that the government expected legal challenges to the decision.

The government's 2016 approval of the project was blocked by a court decision in August 2018 ruling that it had failed to take into account the environmental costs of increased tanker traffic and had not adequately consulted with indigenous groups concerned about the project.

Trudeau's government, which bought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in May of 2018, sent 60 consultants to meet again with indigenous communities along the pipeline's route, CBC News reported. Trudeau promised additional "accommodation measures" such as embracing an initiative to reduce the impact of tanker traffic on the endangered southern resident killer whales that live in the waters off BC.

However, the Squamish Nation told The Squamish Chief that the government's consultation had been "shallow."

"The failure to meaningfully engage with rights holders means this government is either not serious about building this pipeline or not serious about respecting Indigenous rights," nation spokesperson Khelsilem said.

Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Vancouver-area Tsleil-Waututh First Nation told CBC News that her community had decided to appeal the approval, and a group of BC indigenous activists called the Tiny House Warriors promised to continue fighting the project.

"The Trudeau government does not have the right to put a pipeline through unceded Secwepemc land," spokeswoman Kanahus Manuel said in a statement reported by Reuters.

However, other indigenous groups are interested in investing in the project.

Trudeau said construction would restart this year. If that proves to be the case, the pipeline would be operational by 2022, investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co told Reuters. The expansion would enable the pipeline to move 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less
Maximum heat indices expected in the continental U.S. on Saturday July 20. NOAA WPC

A dangerous heat wave is expected to boil much of the Central and Eastern U.S. beginning Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on May 29, 2012. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GettyImages

John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less
Eduardo Velev cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heatwave on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

By Adrienne L. Hollis

Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.

Read More Show Less