Canada to consider climate change in future pipeline approvals

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Canadian officials will consider the impact of fossil fuels on climate change for all future approvals of pipelines and natural gas export terminals.

The move by Canada’s new liberal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, could delay projects and further erode relations between oil-country provinces and coastal ones, Reuters reported.

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Trudeau outlined the plan Tuesday with reporters, saying it’s not his job to be a cheerleader for the projects.

Canada has taken flak from environmentalists around the world for its massive, carbon dioxide-intensive oil sands industry.

The country approved its section of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline years ago, but environmentalists pressured officials in both the United States and Canada to reject it because of its potential impact on climate change.

President Obama rejected Keystone last year, saying the move was necessary to ensure the United States is an international leader on climate change.

The new standards will apply to the Energy East pipeline by TransCanada Corp. and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, both of which would carry oil sands. They also would apply to a planned liquefied natural gas export terminal in British Columbia.

“The federal role is to put into place a process by which TransCanada and any other company could demonstrate that their projects are in the public interest and could have public support,” Trudeau told reporters after meeting Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, according to Reuters.

“And what we are going to roll out very soon, as we promised in our election campaign, is to establish a clear process which will consider all the greenhouse gas emissions tied to a project, which will build on the work already done.”

Trudeau's position is much different than Stephen Harper's, his predecessor who went to great lengths to help the oil and gas sector.

The plan is part of a set of reforms the oil sector sees as hostile to the industry, which dominates provinces such as Alberta.

Local governments and indigenous tribes will also have more input in the projects’ considerations under the proposal.

“It’s not just governments which give permits. Communities must also give their approval, give permission,” Trudeau said.

Conservatives are accusing Trudeau of ignoring the value of oil and creating divisions across Canada.