VIDEO: Premier says B.C. now ‘very close’ to Yes on Trans Mountain pipeline

Christy Clark says Prime Minister Trudeau should come to B.C. to explain why he approved Kinder Morgan project

Premier Christy Clark says Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is now “very close” to winning B.C. government support.

But she stopped short of outright endorsing the controversial pipeline a day after it won approval from the federal government.

“Almost all of the conditions have been met and significant progress has been made on all of them,” Clark told reporters Wednesday, referring to B.C.’s five conditions to support a new heavy oil pipeline.

Asked which conditions have been met, she said more detail is needed from Ottawa on how its new Ocean Protection Plan will ensure world-class marine spill prevention and response, not just with regard to oil tankers but all marine vessel traffic.

And more work is needed to determine a “fair share” of the project benefits and jobs for B.C. – the province’s fifth condition.

“Those would be the two areas where there’s still some work to do. In terms of the other areas, that work is done,” Clark said.

RELATED: Trudeau green lights Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects Northern Gateway

Her declaration that B.C.’s other three pipeline conditions have been met drew criticism and did not acknowledge a point made Tuesday by Environment Minister Mary Polak, who noted B.C. still awaits the outcome of the provincial environmental assessment. Successful receipt of all regulatory approvals is B.C.’s first condition.

First Nations opposed to the project also took issue with the implication that the project will address legal requirements on aboriginal and treaty rights and give First Nations opportunities to benefit – the fourth condition.

The other condition Clark indicated is met is to ensure world-leading spill prevention, response and recovery systems on land.

Clark said she her position on the project hasn’t changed “one iota” since B.C. spelled out its conditions, insisting they helped push the federal government to commit to much better marine protection.

VIDEO: Pipeline approval protested and praised

She is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to defend his decision to approve the project on the ground in B.C.

“When I spoke to the prime minister yesterday I told him I very much look forward to him coming to British Columbia to share his thinking behind the decision he and his cabinet have made,” Clark said. “Come to British Columbia, our province, and talk to the people here about why he believes that this project is indeed in the national interest.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley indicated she will visit B.C. as early as next week to make the case for the pipeline expansion.

NDP critic George Heyman said no world-class spill response is available for heavy oil, regardless of what Clark suggests.

“It’s hard to see how the premier can say her conditions are being met,” he said.

Heyman said B.C.’s assessment is only taking place because of a court decision that it’s required to address aboriginal consultation requirements, adding the province’s equivalency agreement with Ottawa means B.C. accepts the federal NEB review in all other respects.

On B.C.’s fair share, there has been speculation as to whether it could involve a toll on each barrel of oil moved to fund environmental protection, or even a deal with Alberta to buy B.C. electricity once the Site C hydroelectric project is finished.

“She may be negotiating with Alberta. She may be negotiating with Kinder Morgan. Whatever it is is happening behind closed doors.”

Federal green light just one milestone: Kinder Morgan CEO

Trans Mountain pipeline construction is slated to begin for 2017, Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson said following the federal government’s approval of the project.

However, he noted that the federal government’s approval of the project is just one stage.

“Yesterday was a very important milestone for us but it is just that, a milestone – the journey isn’t over and we’ve still got lots of hard work to do.”

Part of that is waiting for the B.C. government’s environmental approval.

“I’m not sure when we will get that certificate. We’ve provided them with lots of information and met their needs. I hope to get it soon but I don’t have any timeline,” said Anderson.

Kinder Morgan is working with the province on the five conditions they’ve outline for the project, Anderson said, including the fifth one that says B.C. must get a share of benefits in line with the risk it bears.

“I echo the words of Premier Christy Clark in that we’re making progress on all conditions, including condition five.”

Anderson said that despite legal challenges from First Nations and protests that show no sign of shrinking, he’s confident that the project will go ahead as planned.

“I don’t think I’d be sitting here today saying what I was saying if I didn’t believe we could continue on the path of building and executing this project.”

Costs for the Trans Mountain pipeline remain at $6.8 billion for now but the company is reviewing all costs and will be providing their shippers with an updated estimate early next year.

– with files from Katya Slepian

Just Posted

Caps’ Pochipinski locks up scholarship

Forward bound for Colorado College

Duncan man gets jail time for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan is also banned from owning animals for a decade

Column: Keeping animals off roads is no simple task

Where I originally come from, it’s moose, which can weigh twice as much as an elk

Column David Suzuki: More action needed to ensure safe water for First Nations

All nine water systems on Lytton First Nation land have been under boil water advisories

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Tahsis mayor Jude Schooner succumbs to sudden heart attack

Flags are flying at half mast in the Village of Tahsis after… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. deer caught obeying traffic signs

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

Most Read