"Today, I am announcing that our government has newly approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project going forward," Justin Trudeau announced today (June 18) and one local MP isn't buying the Prime Minister's word.
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer says he actually believes the opposite of approval is happening.
"I don't have much confidence in their announcement," the Federal Conservative tells PrinceGeorgeMatters. "Three times it's been approved. It should have been started a long time ago. I guess I'm still encouraged because it wasn't a no-decision but short of that, we still don't have a date when it's supposed to start."
There have been at least 18 legal challenges to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, almost all of which have failed.
The one that succeeded was a federal appeal court challenge by First Nations and environmental groups, which successfully halted the project and required the federal government to go back to the drawing board on First Nations consultations and addressing marine impacts from oil tankers.
The Trudeau government ended up buying the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, Westridge Marine Terminal, and Puget Sound pipeline for $4.5 billion.
The sale price included $1 billion already spent on the expansion.
Since there have been three announcements of approval for the Kinder Morgan Expansion Project, Zimmer believes Trudeau and his government's actions are actually a stalling tactic.
"As soon as you give it more reason to be challenged, some will take them up on that," he says. "For us, I've been skeptical, hopeful but skeptical, most of their regulations and changes, that they're delay tactics, and essentially they didn't want to build the project in the first place and they're finding ways to not have it happen. Death by regulation is the term I've used before and I don't see it any different now."
Trudeau also added his government is open to First Nation ownership in the expanded pipeline, anywhere from 25 per cent to 100 per cent.
- with files from Nelson Bennett, Business In Vancouver