With Tuesday’s news of the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Expansion and the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement projects, surely the discussion is not over yet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the podium in Ottawa to announce his decision that he approved of the two aforementioned pipeline projects and that he would not approve the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The Trans Mountain pipeline is an expected $6.8 billion project that will span 1,150 km. The pipeline will move a mix of oil products from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C, near Vancouver.
The Line 3 pipeline is a 1,659 km project that will transport oil from Hardisty, AB. to Superior, Wisconsin. This is the largest pipeline project in Enbridge history.
With both of these projects starting their transport in Alberta, this will likely mean hundreds of jobs created as welders, pipe-fitters, thread-washers, instrumentation technicians and more head back to work to construct these massive projects.
This would equate to a boom in the Alberta economy and would be able to help everyday families out of the economic downtown that began several years ago.
Pipelines have been an important part of Alberta’s economy for decades and we are once again at a time when pipelines could help to stimulate growth, infrastructure and necessary development to build our economy.
Although there are economic benefits to a pipeline, there are many people who feel pipelines are unsafe and the disruption to land, reserves, mountains and waterways will be detrimental to our nation’s development and for the people within it. The Standing Rock protests in North Dakota are an extreme example of people standing up against pipeline development due to fierce love of land, water and the need to protect the earth.
Trudeau did not approve the Northern Gateway project, which would have brought an entirely new pipeline through the Great Bear Rainforest in B.C., saying it was no place for a pipeline.
This decision could have been based on not wanting to disrupt land that had previously not been disrupted or built through, as with the Trans-Mountain Expansion and the Line 3 Replacement lines.
Premier Rachel Notley advocated on a number of occasions, on behalf of pipeline approval to stimulate Alberta’s economy. Reportedly, she flew to Ottawa to meet with Trudeau shortly after the announcements of the pipeline decisions and said to the press that Alberta would now be more able to handle the incoming carbon taxes.
It will be interesting to see what is to come in Alberta, British Columbia and beyond in the comings months.
Will there be protests? Will there be consensus? No one knows for sure but what is certain is the development of the pipelines will create jobs and stimulate the Alberta economy.
There will be continued discussion for the days, weeks and months to come as the projects unfold and development begins. Albertans will simply have to wait and see what happens.