Protected Hummingbird Halts TransMountain Pipeline Project

Construction on the multi-billion dollar TransMountain oil pipeline in western Canada has been halted due to hummingbirds.

Pipeline workers found the nest of an Anna’s hummingbird in a tree that was cut during production. 

The hummingbird is not endangered, but is protected under Canadian federal law. Community groups in British Columbia then began filing complaints that TransMountain was cutting down trees that hosted nesting sites.

In response, Environment and Climate Change Canada ordered TransMountain to halt production of the pipeline until August 21. 

TransMountain, which was purchased by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2018, stated that the stop order affects a 900 meter stretch of land but still plans to have the pipeline complete by 2022.

The TransMountain pipeline has been the subject of much protest since its inception 2013. Environmentalists and Native American Groups have heavily protested the expansion, making it one of Canada’s hottest political issues. 

Earlier in 2020, Canadian Energy Minister Sonya Savage made comments following the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that citizens needed jobs and would no longer tolerate “ideological protests”. Savage would go on further to say in May 2020 that it was “a great time” to build the pipeline given that protests couldn’t have more than 15 people in attendance.

The TransMouintain pipeline expansion will add an additional 980 km of new pipeline and will cost an estimated $12 billion. The Candian Environmental Protection Agency has outlined two complete volumes of proper work procedures for the pipeline, which is set to complete in December 2022.

If completed, the pipeline would bring in an estimated $46 billion in revenue over the course of 20 years, money that Canada plans to use on public services like healthcare and education.

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