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Business council encouraged by pipeline decision

The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) is encouraged by the federal government’s decision to grant its final approval to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project (TMX).

“The approval of the best-in-class Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion is vital for an open trading economy that must have access for natural resources and energy products to get to diversified global markets,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, in a news release. “Achieving full-value for our petroleum exports in this case, or for agri-food, manufactured goods, technology or other exports is fundamental to our country’s success and that of its people.”

Exports of natural resource commodities represent up to 75 per cent of B.C.’s merchandise exports, he said.

“First and foremost, now that the decision has been rendered, the TMX project must be built in a timely manner if our approvals are to be credible,” said D’Avignon. “We have become content to build increasingly complex processes and defer to court decisions, losing our way as the world passes us by.

“Today’s decision should also be a catalyst to amend current legislative thinking and focus on the need for practical outcome-based approaches that enable timely decision-making for responsible natural resources projects that maintain our values and generate revenue for governments and families while reclaiming our reputation as a responsible and attractive place to invest.”

Since 2013, concurrent to Trans Mountain’s application to the existing pipeline network, the United States added 35,000 kilometres of new crude oil pipelines, he said.

“With the final federal government approval once again granted to this key project, the ball is now firmly in the court of the provincial government to support the decision and set an example for the nation’s leaders to foster improved relations among the provinces and Ottawa.” said D’Avignon. “B.C. came into confederation on the promise of connecting our economy and people with the rest of Canada via the railway that moves both east and west. National infrastructure, whether through ports, railways or pipelines as well as access to and from B.C. as Canada’s Pacific Gateway, is part of that obligation for our province and country.

“Canada works because of cooperative federalism for the benefit of all residents. Without all levels of government working together by seeking compromise and clarity of purpose building on our strengths and assets, the foundation of our economy is seriously threatened.” stated D’Avignon.

The Business Council estimates that $30 billion in the trade of goods and services exists between B.C. and Alberta. A review of the top 25 exports for each province in the report shows the breadth of the trading relationship and confirms that energy – oil and natural gas — are the most significant traded products, with Alberta and B.C. exporting over $2.6 and $2.2 billion in refined petroleum and natural gas products respectively to one another.