by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) Aug 10, 2017
British Columbia's new social-democratic government hired external counsel Thursday to review a pipeline expansion in Canada's westernmost province, after vowing during a recent election to kill the project.
Officials also said they would seek to join a court challenge of the Trans Mountain project and try to revive consultations with affected indigenous groups. That was a key condition of the pipeline's approval by the federal government last year, but some groups said it was inadequate.
It is unlikely these measures would derail the project, but they might stall its construction, which is scheduled to begin next month.
"Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbor is not in B.C.'s best interests," said British Columbia Environment Minister George Heyman, during a nationally televised press conference.
"Not for our economy, our environment, or thousands of existing jobs" in fisheries and tourism, he said. "We will use all available tools to protect our coastal waters and our province's future."
Aboriginals and environmental activists -- now backed by the British Columbia government -- fear more oil tanker traffic will increase the chances of a spill that could damage the province's pristine rainforest coastline, putting commercial fisheries and tourism at risk.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government last November accepted the National Energy Board's recommendation to allow the project to proceed.
Expanding the capacity of Kinder Morgan's half-century-old, 1,150-kilometer (715-mile) Trans Mountain pipeline, by building another pipeline next to the existing one, would allow the transport of 890,000 barrels per day from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, for shipping overseas.
Twenty-one parties are currently challenging the project in federal court. A hearing is schedule for November.
The local Squamish tribe is also suing the British Columbia government separately, saying the previous administration should not have backed the project.
Special counsel Thomas Berger, a former British Columbia Supreme Court judge, will advise the provincial government on both lawsuits, as well as possible next steps in its campaign against the pipeline, officials said.
Washington (UPI) Aug 9, 2017
U.S. shale exploration and production company Sanchez Energy said its output increased more than 40 percent over the first quarter of the year. Sanchez is one of the larger operators in the Eagle Ford shale basin in Texas and added more than 300,000 acres to its portfolio through a March acquisition from rival shale player Anadarko Petroleum. With the assets entrenched in its por ... read more
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