REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Ottawa’s approval of a pipeline into the United States will be hugely beneficial for his province.
The federal government on Tuesday approved Enbridge’s proposed replacement of Line 3, a half-century-old pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin that runs through Saskatchewan.
Wall says the decision will benefit industry and workers, including pipe manufacturer Evraz which has a site in Regina.
“This is an important project for the 1,000 people that work out there,” he said Wednesday.
Evraz said in a release that the vast majority, if not all, of the pipe for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project will be made at the Regina facility.
That could be good news for Saskatchewan where the economy is hurting because of a downturn in commodity prices.
But there are concerns too.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 Saskatchewan bands, said protecting land and water, as well as consulting with aboriginal communities must be top priorities.
“It is crucial that stringent protections for the environment be put in place to protect our communities, and that our First Nations concerns and recommendations are abided by based on our inherent and treaty rights to lands and resources,” federation Chief Bobby Cameron said.
In April, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Canadian part of the Line 3 project with 89 conditions. One condition is that Enbridge develop a plan for First Nations to participate in monitoring the project’s construction.
The federation says vice-chief Edward Dutch Lerat will work to ensure that Enbridge is transparent and inclusive when working with First Nations on monitoring.
Wall said companies should be held accountable in their duty to consult. But he added all parties should “hold each other accountable to the truth.”
“Because I’ve seen in these debates where facts are not always at the forefront, sometimes on either side,” he said.
“There are a lot of pipelines that are run through the province of Saskatchewan today … it’s how we pay a lot of bills. The oil and gas business helps build roads and build hospitals and schools and operate them, and those benefit everybody, including First Nations.
“And so let’s be mindful of the environment, of the duty to consult, but let’s also make sure we’re not unnecessarily obstructionist with respect to a very important project.”