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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restated his support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Friday. (Photo: Greenpeace)

As Trudeau Goes All In for Climate-Killing Pipeline, Canadians Issue Final Calls to Ditch Trans Mountain Purchase

"The Canadian government, the same one that stood up in Paris and promised climate action, now owns a massive, failing tar sands pipeline project."

Julia Conley

Climate action groups are denouncing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's determination to forge ahead with expanding the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, the purchase of which by the Canadian government was finalized on Friday just a day after current owner, the energy giant Kinder Morgan, hit a major legal obstacle for its construction.

The company's final approval of the sale came just after a huge courtroom victory for First Nations and environmental advocates on Thursday who have fought against the expansion of the pipeline, which the Canadian government wants to use to carry 890,000 barrels of tar sands from Alberta to British Columbia's southern coast.

On Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeals ruled that Kinder Morgan and the Trudeau administration had not adequately consulted with the First Nations tribes whose land the pipeline is set to pass through—moments before the $4.5 billion sale was approved by Kinder Morgan's shareholders.

"Kinder Morgan Canada Limited today announced that the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) have been indirectly acquired by the Government of Canada," the company said in a press release (pdf) on Friday.

After the two decisions were reached, Trudeau told reporters that he was looking forward to proceeding in the "right way" to complete the expansion project, which is expected to raise oil tanker traffic off British Columbia's coast from five tankers per month to 34 per month—threatening the already endangered killer whales who live there.

"We believe the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the best interest of all Canadians. We are committed to upholding the national interests," Trudeau said.

Meanwhile, after the expansion plan fell apart in court, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced her decision to pull out of the country's climate change framework in protest of the project's delay—claiming the halting of the project is "a threat to Canadian sovereignty and Canadian economic security."

Some climate action groups expressed hope that the stalling of the project would force Canadian officials to reconsider moving forward with the pipeline expansion.

"This is a watershed moment for a troubled and controversial project," Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice told the Seattle Times. "You have to make a choice. Is it going to be orcas, or is it going to be tar sands?"

Despite the final approval of the sale, opponents issued reminders that the deal will not actually be closed until next week and urged Canadians to speak out against Trudeau's decision before it was truly too late.

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