Trans Mountain starting construction on pipeline expansion

4,200 jobs expected by end of the year

Photo: Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources, in Alberta Dec. 3, announcing the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

After years of delays, Trans Mountain officially started construction of the expansion project today.

This afternoon near Acheson, Ian Anderson, President and CEO of Trans Mountain, Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources, Sonya Savage, Alberta Minister of Energy, the Enoch Cree Nation and local government representatives marked the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said the start of construction is a milestone.

This is a good day for our sector. It’s a good day for Alberta. It’s a good day for Canada.” 

-Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources

“This Project is supporting workers and will keep our energy sector strong – in the short, medium, and long term. This is a good day for our sector. It’s a good day for Alberta. It’s a good day for Canada.” 

Today’s event kicks off pipeline construction in Greater Edmonton (Spread 1), which includes about 50 kilometres of pipeline running from Trans Mountain’s Edmonton Terminal in Sherwood Park to Acheson, Alberta. SA Energy Group, the general pipeline construction contractor for Spread 1, has begun pipe transport, stringing and other preparation work that is necessary before pipeline installation. 

“Getting shovels in the ground in Alberta and kicking off pipeline construction is a pivotal moment for Trans Mountain,” said Anderson.

“By next spring we will certainly be working in B.C. on spread 3 and 4.”

During the press conference Tuesday afternoon, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said, “This is a positive step forward for Trans Mountain, our province and our country.

When operational, this pipeline will result in billions of revenues, and construction activities will spur thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians across the country.”

-Sonya Savage, Alberta Minister of Energy

“When operational, this pipeline will result in billions of revenues, and construction activities will spur thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians across the country.

Savage said it’s crucial there aren’t any further delays between now and completion.

“While completion is the one true measure of success, it’s important to acknowledge milestones – like this – along the way,” she said.

“Perseverance has got us to this point,” she added.

“When others were criticizing our energy industry and the value of future pipelines, Albertans did not waver. That’s why our government has been tireless in our advocacy for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project and why we’ll continue to engage the federal government to discuss Alberta’s priorities and challenges.

“We will continue to fight. To fight for investment, to fight for jobs, to fight for more pipelines and to fight to continue to develop our natural resources in a responsible manner for the benefit of all Canadians.

”Albertans can be assured their government will continue to stand up for our energy industry.”

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Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources, in Alberta Dec. 3, announcing the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
Sonya Savage, Alberta Minister of Energy,

According to Trans Mountain, 4,200 workers should be employed along the pipeline corridor by the end of the year. 

Trans Mountain officially re-started construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project on August 22, 2019, with work underway at the Westridge Marine Terminal, Burnaby Terminal and at pump stations in Alberta. The work includes site preparation activities, in-water construction of new shipping berths, foreshore extension work and facility upgrades. Construction is expected to begin shortly in Spread 2 (Yellowhead), as crews are finishing up pre-construction activities and environmental surveys in that area. 

Once complete, the expansion will triple its current capacity and carry 890,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to B.C.

Once complete, the expansion will triple its current capacity and carry 890,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to B.C.

READ MORE: Trudeau government approves Trans Mountain pipeline project

The National Energy Board (NEB) reviewed how the triple increase in shipping will affect marine life and released its findings in February 2019. The NEB recommended the project go ahead and added 156 new conditions.

The NEB also made 16 new recommendations including changes to help decrease underwater noise that would disturb the whale population. The NEB said the increased tanker traffic would hurt the killer whales and increase greenhouse gas emissions but added the side effects are justifiable because of the “considerable benefits” of the pipeline expansion project.

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The tankers have to go through Juan de Fuca Strait, a sensitive environmental area. Opponents say the increased tanker traffic will harm the endangered killer whales. 

Robert Steedman, chief environment officer with the NEB also said, when releasing his report, that the area has already been degraded and highly disturbed by human activity.

In August 2018, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the NEB’s approval of the pipeline expansion citing insufficient consultations with First Nations groups and not enough assessment of environmental impacts as reasons. 

The Canadian government consulted again with Indigenous groups in late 2018. Official consultations with affected Indigenous communities ended earlier this year.

The NEB originally approved Kinder Morgan’s original proposal in 2013 to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. In May 2018 the federal government announced they were buying the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.

Trudeau said the government will invest every dollar it earns from the Trans Mountain pipeline into clean energy projects. The pipeline is expected to generate about $500 million a year in tax revenue alone. It will also create short-term and long-term jobs in Alberta and B.C.

Updated Dec. 3 10:50 a.m., 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

reporter@albertapressleader.ca

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