Delta dodges one as pipeline is approved

Ottawa green lights Kinder Morgan expansion so Roberts Bank off the hook - for time being

Delta got a reprieve from a potential oil pipeline going through the community.

Despite getting heat from many quarters, including environmentalists, indigenous groups and local governments, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week his government is giving its blessing to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

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The federal government also gave the thumbs up to Enbridge's Line 3, while it rejected the Northern Gateway proposal.

"The decision we took today is the one that is in the best interests of Canada," said Trudeau. "It is a major win for Canadian workers, for Canadian families and the Canadian economy, now and into the future."

The first-term PM said if the projects aren't built, even more diluted bitumen from Alberta would have to be transported by rail.

The Trans Mountain expansion will nearly triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day, product that will head to an existing terminal in Burnaby.

Delta was not involved in the application but that didn't stop speculation the new pipeline could end up here if the Burnaby application was defeated. "Kinder Morgan has a long, long list of hurdles to cross before it is a done deal. This isn't over yet and Delta is going to have to remain vigilant - lest we wake up one day to a nasty surprise," said Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington.

Against Port Expansion's Roger Emsley was also pleased to hear the announcement, which means Deltaport and Roberts Bank will not be used as an oil tanker terminal, but he said he remains concerned about the overall degradation of the Fraser River and its estuary.

Kinder Morgan earlier stated Delta had been examined and routing a pipeline to Roberts Bank was less desirable from both economic and environmental perspectives, and that the community wasn't being considered as a so-called "Plan B. " However, that didn't stop South Delta coming up in the conversation as former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt recently told the media that Trudeau should consider an alternative to the $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan proposal. He said an alternate route had to be considered, either to Roberts Bank or to the Cherry Point refinery in Washington state. Last year, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley also suggested Kinder Morgan's highly contentious pipeline might need to be re-routed, pointing out South Delta as a possibility.

A group called Concerned Professional Engineers made the same suggestion.

Premier Christy Clark last week stopped just short of endorsing the Kinder Morgan's expansion, but noted she believes almost all the conditions the province has insisted on have been met.

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