KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce says it's time the provincial government get moving on the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).
In a news release issued Thursday, the chamber said it is "disappointed at the ongoing obstructionism demonstrated by the provincial government," noting "energy and its related products are a significant part of B.C.'s and Canada's annual exports."
The chamber added pipelines can create opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses which create lasting benefits for the province, local governments and their communities.
It also says local governments along the pipeline route will receive an additional $23.2 million in property tax payments — including $1.278 million to Kamloops and an additional $7.484 million annually for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
The chamber decided to speak out after B.C.'s minority NDP government announced Tuesday it will ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off its coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill. The B.C. government says it will establish an independent scientific advisory panel to study the issue.
"If you look at when they started the process and you look at where we are now, Trans Mountain has moved through every prerequisite in moving along with the project but it seems that in this case the NDP are trying to come up with a few more," says Vice-President of the chamber's Board of Directors Joshua Knaak, who thinks it speaks to two things.
"First of all, we'd like to see Trans Mountain move ahead because they have met the requirments, or committed to meeting the requirements that have been laid out to them by the province and by the federal government. But not just that, it's actions like this by the NDP government that we become very concerned about as it will really hinder future investment in the province."
The Province of Alberta expressed its anger in B.C.'s latest move to thwart the pipeline Wednesday when Premier Rachel Notley said "there will be consequences for British Columbia" because of it.
"The government of Alberta will not — we cannot — let this unconstitutional attack on jobs and working people stand," she added.
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