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Leadership from the top required on pipeline front
The spat between the mayor of Burnaby and the government of Alberta over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline must be settled soon.
Alberta and Saskatchewan and the company that wants to build the $7.4 billion project have applied to the National Energy Board for a hearing into the city of Burnaby’s apparent delays in issuing any permits required for the work within its boundaries.
Kinder Morgan says the project is now nine months behind and the delay is costing millions every day.
Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, who has argued against the pipeline (or any other major pipeline for that matter) since the beginning says that they are not delaying anything, just doing their due diligence. He has taken issue with recent remarks from Alberta premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan`s energy minister who, along with many others, have argued that the pipeline is in the national interest and that no province has the authority to block exports of another.
The company has asked the National Energy Board to step in and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan have applied for intervenor status to help make the argument that the city of Burnaby is overreaching its authority.
Kinder Morgan has asked the NEB to set a timetable for submissions from interested parties and a hearing by the NEB that would make for a quick resolution, however, the NEB has declined and instead said it will set a time for a hearing in due course.
Sadly, federal energy minister Jim Carr says the federal government will not participate in the upcoming hearing into the pipeline even though his government stands by its approval of the project last November. He say the responsible thing for the government to do is to let the process work its way out.
This is unfortunate and simply opens up more potential for heated debate between proponents in Alberta and those against the pipeline that will most likely hinder and not help the start of the project.
Instead, what is needed is strong leadership at the federal level.
The Liberals approved the project and must make sure it happens. The federal government has all the power it needs under the Constitution to force this project through.
While there is certainly merit to having concerns for the environment, we must have faith in our regulatory process. The federal government and NEB simply would not have approved Trans Mountain if there was any concern; the 157 conditions attached to the approval reflect this.
Projects of this scope that are necessary for the financial future of Alberta and yes, Canada as a whole, must be approved and completed in a timely fashion.
It is time for the federal government to step in and get this pipeline project started.
We simply cannot risk further delays or especially a cancellation of the project.
This would certainly cause a backlash not seen since the National Energy Program that was foisted on Alberta years ago and is still an issue with many who were around at the time.

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