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Canadian industry cheers report that Trudeau is planning pipeline push

The group that represents Canada's biggest pipelinecompanies is applauding a report that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has toldtop government officials to work to make a pair of energy conduits proposed byTransCanada Corp. andKinder Morgan Inc. areality.

Trudeau instructed officials to make a pipeline strategy atop priority, a National Post columnistwrote April 12. Trudeau has been convinced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau andother cabinet members that the major pipelines are necessary to meet economicgrowth targets the government has set, the John Ivison column said, citinganonymous sources.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, or CEPA, applaudedthe reported national pipeline strategy effort. Trudeau's ruling Liberal Partyrecently gave the National Energy Board extra to broaden public input on theprojects and added federal environmental reviews, raising concern in the mainoil-producing provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan that the lines could bedelayed or scuttled.

"This is an important step towards employing criticalinfrastructure necessary for the prosperity of our country," ChrisBloomer, CEO of the Calgary, Alberta-based CEPA, said in an email."Achieving market access will not only increase government revenues butallow Canada to invest in ways that matter to Canadians."

The push may help overcome resistance to the projects inQuebec, where Trudeau was elected, and British Columbia, where the primeminister spent much of his life. Environmental groups have complained that theprojects would boost greenhouse gas emissions by increasing development ofnortheastern Alberta's oil sands. TransCanada's C$15.7 billion project would ship1.1 million barrels a day from Hardisty, Alberta, across the country to a seaportand refining complex in New Brunswick. The Houston-based Kinder Morgan's C$6.8billion TransMountain expansion would almost triple the capacity of an existingline between Edmonton, Alberta, and a port near Vancouver, British Columbia.

The environmental case for the lines can be made by pointingout that any increase in output from western Canada would be offset by declinesin imported oil, the National Postreport said. Imported oil feeds refineries in the Montreal area and Canada'seast coast. The nation's finances have been hurt by a drop in oil prices since2014, which shrank government coffers at the federal and provincial levels.Pipeline proponents believe increased access to export markets will boostgovernment fortunes.

"CEPA looks forward to continue working collaborativelywith the government and all stakeholders to build public confidence and trustin our industry, as well as emphasizing the economic importance of Canada'snatural resources and pipeline projects," Bloomer said. "We arecommitted to working with provincial and federal governments to ensureCanada's pipeline infrastructure is enabled to protect the environment, operatewith high safety standards, drive economic growth, and meet the core expectationsof Canadians."