Canada says Pacific pipeline route now up to energy firms

Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:30pm EST
 
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OTTAWA Dec 11 (Reuters) - Canada's pro-pipeline government has done all it can for two embattled projects and will leave it to the energy companies to advance pipelines to the Pacific in the face of resistance from Aboriginal and green groups, a senior minister said in comments released on Thursday.

Industry Minister James Moore said it was now up to Enbridge Inc and Kinder Morgan Inc to ensure the success of the projects from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific province of British Columbia.

"We've done everything we can in a responsible way," Moore, senior minister for British Colombia, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp when asked about the two projects.

Aboriginal protesters and environmental activists are trying to block Kinder Morgan's C$5.4 billion ($4.7 billion) plans to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline to Vancouver.

They also oppose Enbridge's proposed C$7.9 billion Northern Gateway pipeline to the port of Kitimat in Northwest British Columbia.

The federal government strongly backs increasing Canada's pipeline capacity and has changed the regulatory process to make it easier for projects to win approval and be built. Moore also noted that Ottawa had cut corporate taxes.

"It's up to the proponents to meet the environmental tests, to engage with First Nations (aboriginals), to meet the provincial standards that are expected ... it's up to the firms to deliver on their projects," Moore said in an interview posted on CBC's website on Thursday.

Last December regulators urged the government to approve Northern Gateway, as long as the company complied with more than 200 conditions.

The government of British Columbia has set out five conditions it says the pipeline must meet, including aboriginal consultation, environmental safety and revenue for the province.

Some aboriginal communities complain they have not been consulted adequately about pipelines that would cross their traditional lands while environmentalists say the risks of a spill are too great.

($1=$1.15 Canadian) (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Gunna Dickson)