Trans Mountain expansion still faces risks after reapproval: Morneau
A day after Ottawa reapproved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the project still faces some risks.
“Of course there will be risks in the future,” Morneau told BNN Bloomberg’s Tara Weber on Wednesday.
“I can’t say that we can evaluate every single one of them. But we think we’re now in a position where we’re ready to deal with those risks in a way that will assure us that we can actually get this done.”
The federal government’s decision to approve the project a second time comes nine months after the Federal Court of Appeal ripped up the pipeline’s 2016 approval, citing incomplete indigenous consultations and a faulty environmental review.
In its announcement Tuesday, the Trudeau government said the $7.4-billion project that could triple capacity on the line from Edmonton to the west coast has met strict requirements on safety and consultation indigenous groups.
Even with Tuesday’s approval, regulatory and political hurdles remain. Fresh lawsuits arising from the decision will place any timelines for the project’s completion in doubt. The government of British Columbia is seeking a separate ruling from the Supreme Court on whether it can restrict oil shipments through the province. In addition, protests could disrupt construction.
Another wild card is the chance Trudeau loses his majority in October’s federal election.
Morneau acknowledged that the federal government faces criticism from both sides of the Trans Mountain debate after the project’s reapproval.
“There will always be people, frankly, on both sides, that will not agree with our approach,” he said.
“We think that by saying to the people who want it done faster that we're doing it the right way because that's the only way to get it done, that makes sense.
“For people who don't ever want it to get done, I think what we've said is we've found a way to deal with the people with legitimate concerns and we've found a way of ensuring that we're protected against environmental risks.”
With files from Bloomberg News