Pipeline announcement pleases Vernon politician

The Justin Trudea government agreed to accept Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin the 63-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline to Burnaby

An already-twinned section of the Trans Mountain pipeline near Jasper.

An already-twinned section of the Trans Mountain pipeline near Jasper.

The green light granted to Kinder Morgan Tuesday has Vernon’s MLA excited for the opportunities ahead.

The Justin Trudeau government agreed to accept Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin the 63-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline to Burnaby, and rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline across northern B.C. to Kitimat.

“It’s a good thing,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA.

“They’re not going to start laying pipe tomorrow but it’s certainly a move forward. It’s a lot of jobs, some during construction and long term jobs with the refinery.”

Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion project would result in a seven-fold increase in tankers running through Vancouver harbour, carrying much more diluted bitumen than in the past.

Trudeau noted it’s the twinning of an existing pipeline that has been in operation since 1953.

In contrast, Northern Gateway would have been an all-new pipeline.

“I don’t think there’s anyone surprised by the Northern Gateway,” said Foster, of the rejection.

It’s the final nail in the coffin for the Enbridge project, that was widely considered dead in the face of widespread opposition from northwestern B.C. First Nations as well as the B.C. government.

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

But the Kinder Morgan approval has left a crude taste in the mouths of some. Just over a week ago about 70 people protested against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline plans at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

Environmental groups aim to block any new pipeline to keep Alberta oil from being burned and contributing to climate change, and they were quick to slam the decision, calling it a “betrayal of promises.”

“Canadians – and especially British Columbians have said loud and clear that we don’t want this reckless pipeline coming anywhere near the Pacific coast,” Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee climate campaigner, said in a statement. “To ignore the deeply held views of the vast majority of people who live on this coast is outrageous.”

Trudeau defends his decision.

“If I thought this project was unsafe for the B.C. coast I would reject it. This is a decision based on rigorous debate, on science and on evidence. We have not been and will not be swayed by political arguments, be they local, regional or national.”

– with files from Black Press reporter Jeff Nagel