Canada remains committed to working with British Columbia and with Washingtonians to ensure that marine protections are strong as the Trans Mountain Project proceeds.
I would like to set the record straight about the Trans Mountain Project (TMX) and the government of Canada’s world-leading actions to protect our shared environment, marine life and coastal waters.
Canada supports a responsible and innovative resource sector that creates jobs for middle-class families and contributes to our health, education and social programs. We are deeply committed to fighting climate change and protecting our coastal ecosystems and communities. Canadians have never accepted the false choice between jobs or the environment: vibrant, progressive societies need both. I know Washingtonians think the same.
TMX is in Canada’s national interest. The majority of Canadians support the project. Most understand that we are transitioning to a clean-growth economy, but we will not get there overnight. The expansion of this pipeline alone will create thousands of well-paying jobs.
Gov. Jay Inslee: “The pipeline expansion would increase Canadian oil-tanker traffic sevenfold, putting an estimated 350 more tankers a year in the Salish Sea, critical habitat where our orcas do most of their hunting. It would significantly increase the risk of oil spills and take us backward in our transition to a clean-energy future.” Read his Op-Ed is at HTTPS://st.news/pipeline
It is essential our neighbors understand how we came to this point. The project underwent the most rigorous environmental assessment process in Canadian history, with 44 public meetings, 600 presentations and 55,000 submissions. It accounted for carbon emissions and involved the deepest engagement process with indigenous populations in our country’s history.
Most Read Opinion Stories
There was and is a high bar to pass. The project is subject to 157 crucial conditions. These conditions, some of the most stringent ever imposed, ensure that we protect our coastal ecosystems and our communities, while taking concrete action on climate change. They include new rules to ensure that the pipeline operates with world-leading safety requirements, and a new Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committee to ensure that indigenous leaders monitor and advise on the project throughout its life cycle. Washingtonians have no greater ally in the protection of our sea, land and air than Canada.
The Government of Canada announced in December 2016 its Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, a truly historic initiative driven by provincial and territorial commitments to meet our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, grow the economy and build resilience to a changing climate. The plan lays out an approach to putting a price on carbon pollution and measures to achieve reductions across all economic sectors. Our climate plan, along with the province of Alberta’s hard cap on oil-sands emissions, takes into account the upstream emissions associated with TMX.
The Government of Canada also announced in November 2016 its $1.5 billion (CDN) Oceans Protection Plan, the largest single federal investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This world-class plan improves marine safety; ensures responsible shipping and oil-spill prevention, preparedness and response; protects Canada’s marine environment; and offers new possibilities for indigenous and coastal communities. We are developing a marine-safety system that rivals any in the world. It draws on more than 30 years of scientific research in spill prevention and response — including specific measures to ensure the safe transport of diluted bitumen. These marine-safety improvements, coupled with stringent conditions for TMX and the robust system already in place, will put extraordinary safeguards on all vessels, including those carrying petroleum products in the trans-boundary waters on the West Coast of Canada and the U.S.
The original Trans Mountain pipeline has been operating since 1953, including a connection to the Puget Sound Pipeline that supplies several Washington state refineries. It contributes to the $20 billion annual trade relationship that Canada shares with the Evergreen State. Marine vessels have been transporting oil from the Westridge Marine Terminal without incident since 1956. We are proud of this safety record. Once the expansion project is complete, Trans Mountain tankers will represent less than 7 percent of the total large commercial marine vessels transiting the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Canada and Washington state are strong, longstanding partners, with a vital trade relationship, a deep history of border and security cooperation, and shared values. I believe these values extend to our shared commitments to protect the environment and grow the economy together. We remain committed to working with British Columbia and with Washingtonians to ensure that our marine protection regime is the strongest it can be.