Ottawa delays Trans Mountain pipeline decision until June 18

On Thursday, the federal government announced the Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline has been extended, noting a decision will not be on made on May 22 as originally intended, but June 18.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in a statement that the decision comes after Indigenous groups told the government they needed "more time" for consultations on the project, which would expand an existing pipeline that stretches from Edmonton to a coastal terminal in Burnaby in Metro Vancouver.

That would have set the previous deadline for a decision at May 23.

Interestingly, during the Alberta election, Rachel Notley stated she believed the Trudeau government would approve it by the end of May.

On Feb. 22, the National Energy Board endorsed the pipeline expansion, which started a 90-day clock for Ottawa to make the final call. Join the conversation by commenting below!

In the time that it has taken to come to a decision on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the province of Alberta has elected a new premier, the United Conservative Party's Jason Kenney, who has vowed to put pressure on the federal government with regards to the pipeline. He threatened to turn off the oil taps to B.C. unless opposition to the pipeline is removed and also says he plans to hold a referendum in Alberta on equalization if there are no new pipelines built by 2021.

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"This means ensuring that consultations are not only meaningful, but also open and transparent", he said. "We certainly do not want them to go back to the drawing board a third time on this".

Sohi said consultation teams are continuing to meet with Indigenous communities that could be impacted by the project.

The federal government officially bought the pipeline past year for $4.5-billion.

"The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to do things differently on TMX, moving the process forward in the right way and following the guidance of the Federal Court of Appeal".

The company halted work last spring, and warned it would cancel the project altogether unless Ottawa could convince it that the delays would not continue.

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