The Western Canadian province’s environment ministry said it will set up an independent scientific advisory panel to make recommendations on the safe transport of heavy oils and to better prepare for cleanup, in case of spills.
The province plans to bar any increase in oil shipments – by rail or pipeline – while the panel is completing its work. It did not give a timeline on how long the advisory review would take.
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will nearly triple capacity on the 1,147-kilometer (712 mile) line to 890,000 barrels per day, was approved by the Canadian government in 2016. The line runs from Alberta’s energy heartland to a port in suburban Vancouver.
While supported by the federal government, the province of Alberta and industry, the expansion is vehemently opposed by British Columbia, numerous local municipalities, many First Nation groups and environmental activists.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Tom Brown)