Posted: 30 Nov, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday approved a pipeline expansion to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to move crude from inland Alberta to the Pacific coast. A similar development - through a rainforest further north - was rejected.

Image of the Canadian national flag

The 6.8 billion Canadian dollar project opens the possibility of exports to the Asian market from Canada's oil sands. The newly-approved plan is to create a line, running parallel to the existing one, that could carry almost triple the amount - up from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day

The pipeline, proposed by Houston-based Kinder Morgan, will terminate at Burnaby, in Vancouver Harbor.

Prime Minister Trudeau on Tuesday also approved another pipeline - Enbridge's Line 3 - from Alberta to the US state of Wisconsin, which will almost double the line capacity to 760,000 barrels a day heading south of the border.

Opponents - including municipalities in British Columbia, aboriginal groups and environmental organizations - have opposed the plan, concerned about climate change and possible pipeline leaks.

Prime Minister Trudeau rejected Enbridge's Northern Gateway, which would have crossed the temperate Great Bear Rainforest. This pipeline was to transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta's oil sands to the Pacific for export to Asia. Worries about the possible environmental impact, with fears about spills at land and at sea, were said to be too great.

"The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline and the Douglas Channel is no place for oil tanker traffic," Trudeau said.

The importance of the Pacific pipeline decisions grew after the US administration turned down TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, from Canada to the US Gulf Coast.

Source: Deutsche Welle