Trans Mountain puts contractors on notice to get ready for pipeline restart


APTN file photo.

Trans Mountain Corp. has advised construction contractors to get ready for the restart of its pipeline expansion project to the west coast.

Trans Mountain says its directive gives contractors 30 days to ready equipment, start hiring workers, secure goods and services and develop detailed plans.

The company says work is to begin soon in communities along the right of way between Edmonton and Edson, Alta., and in the greater Edmonton area.

Work is also to resume at the terminal in Burnaby, B.C., which is the end point for the pipeline that is to carry oil from Alberta to the coast for shipment to overseas markets.

Trans Mountain says specific start dates in the remaining construction areas are subject to final regulatory approvals and permits.

The federal government gave a second go-ahead to the expansion project in June after the courts overturned the original approval.

The Liberal government spent $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada in 2018 in a bid to get the existing pipeline expanded despite significant political opposition in British Columbia.

That plan was put on hold last August when the Federal Court of Appeal said the government had not done a good enough job consulting with Indigenous communities or studying the impact on marine life.

Six British Columbia First Nations and at least two environment groups have filed new court challenges.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) Chief Leah George-Wilson said following the government’s June decision to approve the pipeline that her Nation would launch a new court challenge to the government’s approval of the project.

“We believe that the consultation, once again, missed the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada — and we will defend our rights,” she said.

“TWN continues to withhold our free, prior and informed consent and are prepared to use all legal tools to ensure our governance rights are respected.”

Asked by APTN News in June what definition of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) the government adhered to in determining whether it had adequately consulted with First Nations, Trudeau said FPIC “is what we engaged in doing with Indigenous communities over the past number of months.

“It is engaging, looking with them, listening to the issues they have, and responding meaningfully to the concerns they have wherever possible,” he explained.

Trudeau said the consultations resulted in “changes to the process, to the NEB conditions…and that is an essential part of free, prior and informed consent.”

In a press release Wednesday Trans Mountain Corp. President and CEO said the company is “confident that we have a path forward by which the expansion project construction can commence.”

With files from The Canadian Press.

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