Statement on the re-approval of the TMX project

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2019

I am unsurprised and yet profoundly disappointed by today’s announcement from the Liberal Government approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. It has become clear there is no good case for this project, whether it be from the standpoint of climate science, economics, Indigenous rights, or community safety and consent. It is particularly absurd that they would declare a Climate Emergency yesterday only to approve an oil pipeline project today.

Truly there are countless problems with the arguments presented today in favour of the pipeline. The idea that one can control emissions by capping oil sands production after growing pipeline capacity is ridiculous, as it is clear that they are pushing those emissions off onto other countries, and not taking responsibility for our influence on global emissions.

Another argument given is that the pipeline is an economic driver and creates jobs. This is only one choice of many for job creation, and not a very good one. The Government had the opportunity to move away from our extractive resource economy and did not do so nearly fast enough given the climate crisis that we are in.

Trudeau said “we’re prisoners to the American market” as a reason for the expansion, as if the expansion will not become prisoner to the Chinese market. As former Liberal environment minister David Anderson stated in letters last week, “There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen.”

The Federal Government has stated that it has no interest in owning the project long-term, and is beginning to meet with Indigenous groups who are interested in buying the project. This is a disservice to the communities who would buy the pipeline only to see it shut down in the near future as Canada transitions to a green economy, which would be partially fueled by their own costs to buy the pipeline.

In re-approving this project, it appears the Government has fallen prey to the sunk cost fallacy. The NEB recommendations, as we mentioned in our statement on that decision, are extensive and ineffective, but cover the impacts this pipeline would have. We think it is clear that the opposing factors far outweigh the reasons given today for approval of the project.

We will continue to oppose this project and work against it, as well as supporting Indigenous communities and local groups in their efforts.