The Trans Mountain Pipeline Debate

April 5, 2018

On his Western Canada tour, Trudeau is playing a balancing act when it comes to appeasing both sides of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project. The environmentalists, who want no more fossil fuel development, and the oil industry- who is a massive driver of the Canadian economy, are both putting pressure on Trudeau to see the issue their way. The Trans Mountain Pipeline project was approved in 2016 by the Trudeau administration and has been a topic of protest by environmentalists who claim that will raise the risk of oil spills in the Burrard Inlet and can’t be completed if the government is to meet its climate change commitments to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions another 200 million tonnes a year by 2030.

We’ve objectively outlined some of the pros and cons of this debate in below. Where do you stand on the Trans Mountain Pipeline debate?

BENEFITS OF THE TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE:
1. New Jobs: The Trans Mountain Pipeline will require new employees to build, manage, maintain and operate. It is estimated that the pipeline will open up 15,000 new jobs for Canadians
2. Increased Pipeline Capacity: The current pipeline capacity is estimated to increase from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day- a increase of almost 300%.
3. Increased Provincial and National tax revenue: Canada and each respective province will benefit from an increase of roughly $46.7 billion in additional tax revenue obtained from the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
4. Stronger economy: With a higher capacity to transport to oil market, producers will see roughly an increase of $73.5 billion over the next 20 years. This additional revenue will increase Canada’s GDP leading to a stronger and more prosperous economy.

NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF THE TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE:
1. Increased risk of oil spills Since 1961, the Trans Mountain Pipeline has been held responsible for 78 oil spills. Currently, there is a reported average of at least one oil spill per year. With an increased pipeline capacity, the pipeline will be transporting a significantly larger amount of oil and therefore increase the risk of oil spills.
2. Increased oil tanker traffic With the proposed tripling of the pipeline’s oil capacity, the amount of oil tankers required to transport the oil will need to increase from two tankers per week to roughly ten tankers. This increased traffic will be detrimental to local tourism and other interest groups such as First Nations groups who depend on British Columbian water ways.
3. Expansion of Alberta Oil Sands An increased capacity to transport oil will necessitate an interest to produce more oil. Corporations running Alberta’s environmentally concerning oil sands will therefore have a strong financial incentive to expand their operations, further producing large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sources:
1. Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED)
2. Global News