National Energy Board again approves Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

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      The never-ending debate over the expansion of a western Canadian pipeline system is heating up again.

      That's because the National Energy Board has given the green light to the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain project.

      If completed, it will nearly triple diluted bitumen shipments from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta to Burnaby.

      The project will lead to a nearly seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet.

      The NEB approval comes with the previous 156 conditions and 16 new conditions..

      The report acknowledged that the project is "likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects" on southern resident orcas.

      As well, it will have a detrimential impact on Indigenous cultural uses associated with these marine mammals.

      Moreover, the NEB concluded that there will be "significant" greenhouse gas emissions from project-related vessels.

      The report also highlighted "considerable benefits", including expanded access to Canadian oil, job creation in different parts of Canada, and more revenue for various levels of government.

      The NEB's conclusions have not impressed climate-change activists, including Tzeporah Berman.

      The federal government bought the Trans Mountain system last year from Texas-based Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.

      The NEB's earlier approval of the expansion project was quashed last year in the Federal Court of Appeal due to shortcomings in the regulatory review.

      A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the NEB's refusal to consider the impact of marine shipments of oil from the pipeline on endangered species was an "unjustified failure".

      In addition, the panel of judges concluded that the federal government's public consultations with affected Indigenous peoples fell far short of what was required under law.