Pipe­line takes step for­ward

NEB wants ma­rine pro­tec­tion pro­gram from Trans Moun­tain pipe­line builder

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NATIONAL -

VAN­COU­VER — The Na­tional En­ergy Board would re­quire the cre­ation of a ma­rine mam­mal pro­tec­tion pro­gram for the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line in a se­ries of draft con­di­tions it has laid out be­fore it con­sid­ers the pro­ject.

The fo­cus of the re­view is to ap­ply the Cana­dian En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment Act and the Species at Risk Act to pro­ject-re­lated ma­rine ship­ping, the board says in the doc­u­ment.

The con­di­tions mit­i­gate po­ten­tial risks to the en­vi­ron­ment and pro­tect the pub­lic, it says.

Re­leas­ing these draft con­di­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions is not an in­di­ca­tion of the board’s forth­com­ing rec­om­men­da­tion to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to ei­ther ap­prove or deny the pro­ject, it says.

The board, which has to have its fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions in by Feb. 22, also rec­om­mends a num­ber of mea­sures be taken to off­set the in­creased un­der­wa­ter noise and po­ten­tial risk posed by ship strikes of ma­rine mam­mals in­clud­ing south­ern res­i­dent killer whales.

Terry Beech, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary to the trans­porta­tion min­is­ter, had said ear­lier the south­ern res­i­dent killer whale is a vi­tal part of Canada’s lo­cal ma­rine ecosys­tem.

“The sur­vival of this iconic species is a pri­or­ity of our gov­ern­ment and in­deed a pri­or­ity for all Cana­di­ans,” he said.

The Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal quashed the gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval of the pro­ject in Au­gust, cit­ing the en­ergy board’s fail­ure to ex­am­ine im­pacts on the ocean ecosys­tem, in­clud­ing B.C.’s en­dan­gered south­ern res­i­dent killer whales. It also found Canada failed to mean­ing­fully con­sult with First Na­tions dur­ing the fi­nal phase of dis­cus­sions.

The board is also look­ing to limit the num­ber of whale watch­ing boats and the amount of time they spend on the water.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s gov­ern­ment, which pur­chased the pipe­line and ex­pan­sion pro­ject for $4.5 bil­lion, or­dered the en­ergy board to re­view the pro­ject’s ma­rine ship­ping ef­fects within 155 days.

Fed­eral Fish­eries Min­is­ter Jonathan Wilkin­son said Thurs­day the draft rec­om­men­da­tions and con­di­tions are an “im­por­tant step to­wards meet­ing the rea­son­able time­line that we pro­vided, and the type of progress that Cana­di­ans ex­pect to see.”

“The Na­tional En­ergy Board is an in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor and is re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the re­view on ma­rine ship­ping,” he said. “We will care­fully re­view them and pro­vide com­ment, as nec­es­sary.”

Trans Moun­tain said in a state­ment late Thurs­day that it has seen the draft rec­om­men­da­tions and amend­ments to the con­di­tions from the NEB.

“We will be pro­vid­ing fur­ther com­ments to the Na­tional En­ergy Board within the time­frame es­tab­lished by the board,” the com­pany said.

The Trans Moun­tain ma­rine pro­tec­tion plan should be in place three months be­fore it starts op­er­a­tions and should de­scribe how it will in­cor­po­rate Indige­nous tra­di­tions and knowl­edge in de­vel­op­ing its pro­grams, the board says.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment should re­view and up­date its ma­rine ship­ping oil spill re­sponse re­quire­ments and look at in­clud­ing Indige­nous Peo­ples and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in re­sponse plan­ning, it rec­om­mends.

The pipe­line ex­pan­sion would triple the amount of oil be­ing car­ried from the Ed­mon­ton area to a ma­rine ship­ping ter­mi­nal in Burn­aby, in­creas­ing the num­ber of tankers in Metro Van­cou­ver wa­ters seven-fold.

It also would like to see a reg­u­la­tor frame­work for mak­ing en­hanced tug es­cort manda­tory in the Sal­ish Sea for oil tankers.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment should im­ple­ment a ma­rine bird mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram to bet­ter un­der­stand im­pacts of ves­sel use on avian wildlife in­clud­ing species at risk, it says.

Green­house gas re­duc­tion mea­sures re­lated to ma­rine ship­ping should be ac­cel­er­ated and im­ple­mented, the board rec­om­mends.

JONATHAN HAY­WARD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Pipes are seen at the Kin­der Morgan Trans Moun­tain fa­cil­ity in Ed­mon­ton in April.

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