Canada’s Trans Mountain Orders Stop Oil Line Expansion To Protect Hummingbird Nests

CALGARY, Alta. (Reuters) – The Canadian government has ordered Trans Mountain Corp to halt work on a section of its oil pipeline expansion project in Burnaby, B.C., for four months to protect hummingbird nests a government spokeswoman said on Monday.

The C $ 12.6 billion ($ 10.17 billion) Trans Mountain (TMX) expansion project will nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alta., To the coast of Colombia -British, to ship 890,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products when completed at the end of 2022.

Trans Mountain said the order applies to a one-kilometer stretch of its pipeline right-of-way and that work continues on all other areas of the 1,150 kilometer (715 mile) route. No changes were made to the planned commissioning date.

An Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) law enforcement officer visited the site in a Burnaby forest twice this month after complaints about construction activities affecting nests, including those in a species known as Anna’s Hummingbird, which are migratory birds protected under Canadian law.

Migratory birds are particularly vulnerable during the nesting season. ECCC issued a written order on April 16 to cease all activity, including the cutting of trees with heavy machinery at the site. The order lasts until August 20 when the nesting season ends.

“Cutting down vegetation and trees or carrying out other disruptive activities such as bulldozing or using chainsaws and heavy machinery near active nests will likely result in the disruption or destruction of those nests,” the door said. ECCC word Samantha Bayard in a press release.

Environmental activists and some indigenous groups oppose the project, which has been beset by years of regulatory delays and cost overruns. In 2018, the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau purchased the Kinder Morgan Canada pipeline to ensure continued expansion, making Trans Mountain a Crown corporation.

Sara Ross, a member of the Community Nest Finding Network, which sounded the alarm on affected hummingbird nests, said increased government oversight was needed throughout the pipeline route.

“When government is both owner and regulator, it means groups like ours are imperative,” Ross said.

($ 1 = 1.2395 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Nia Williams; Edited by Marguerita Choy, Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin

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