+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution ER1-17F

Support for Trans Mountain Expansion Project

November 15, 2017
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2020
Active Status:
Parkland County
3 - Pembina River
Industry and Resource Development
Vote Results:

WHEREAS energy and its related products are a significant part of Canada’s annual exports which, along with metals and mineral products, represent the single largest positive annual contribution to Canada’s balance of trade; and

WHEREAS the National Energy Board (NEB) determined the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) is in the Canadian public interest; and

WHEREAS the Federal Governor in Council approved of the project application on November 29, 2016; and

WHEREAS the Conference Board of Canada conservatively estimates $46.7 billion will find its way into government treasuries in the form of taxes and royalties from the TMEP during development and over the first 20 years of operations; and

WHEREAS economic benefits generated during construction and 20 years of operations from the TMEP include:

  • $68.3 billion in additional revenue to Alberta oil producers attributable to Trans Mountain as a result of higher netbacks, over the first 20 years of operations
  • $45 billion GDP effects for Alberta; and

WHEREAS in addition to benefits created by the TMEP, operations of the expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline will generate $3.3 billion in taxes over 20 years, with Alberta receiving a $567-million share; and

WHEREAS local and regional property tax payments are estimated to go up by a total of $3.4 million per year, a 116 per cent increase along the Alberta section of the route; and

WHEREAS the process does not superceed the importance of the individual land rights;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) urge the Government of Alberta to continue to support the Trans Mountain Expansion Project so it can meet its commitments to delivering jobs and economic benefits and meeting its regulatory requirements during the construction and operation of the pipeline;

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Canada to ensure that all regulatory processes that have been recommended for approval by the NEB and subsequently authorized by the Federal Governor in Council  are permitted to proceed;

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Canada to exercise ancillary powers in order to enact the comprehensive regulatory scheme for the Canadian public interest, including the right to timely permitting, thereby enabling the commencement of construction.

Member Background:

In December 2013, Trans Mountain submitted an application to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand its existing pipeline system, increasing daily capacity from 300,000 barrels up to 890,000 barrels. The $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan expansion would triple the capacity of the existing 1,150 kilometre pipeline between Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia.

Following a 29-month review, the NEB, on May 29, 2016, concluded that the TMEP is in the Canadian public interest and recommended that the Federal Governor in Council approve the expansion. The NEB attached 157 conditions which address issues such as public safety, economic benefits, local job creation, emergency preparedness and emergency response, Aboriginal interests, environmental protection and safety along both the pipeline right-of-way and the marine tanker transport route. The NEB’s review was rigourous, involving a record 404 intervenors and more than 1,200 commenters.

On November 29, 2016, the Government of Canada accepted the NEB recommendation, noting that Canada needed to expand the markets for its oil products and saying that the TMEP “will make that possible.”

On January 11, 2017, the Province of British Columbia announced that the Project had received its environmental certificate from BC’s Environmental Assessment Office subject to 37 Conditions. The Province stated that TMEP met its Requirements for British Columbia to Consider Support for Heavy Oil Pipelines, known as B.C.’s Five Conditions.

The Trans Mountain pipeline infrastructure has national economic significance. As Canada’s primary energy transmission pipeline, the system is approximately 115,000 km in length, and the total pipeline network is approximately 840,000 km, including regional gathering, feeder and distribution lines. By comparison, there are 38,000 km of primary highway transportation linkages across the country.

In addition to the estimated $46.7 billion of taxes and royalties the Federal and Provincial governments will recognize from the TMEP during development and over the first 20 years of operations, including $19.4 billion recognized by Alberta, largely in the form of royalties from producers earning higher netbacks from selling their product into new markets, the project will create 441,000 person-years of employment in Alberta from project development and operations. This includes:

  • 14,600 construction jobs
  • 13,340 pipeline operations jobs
  • 11,200 jobs generated by dividend payments from oil producers
  • 400,600 jobs related to additional investment in oil and gas development as a result of higher netbacks to producers.
  • Overall, the project generates more than 800,000 person-years of work for Canadians;

Including existing and increased payments, local governments in Alberta will collect $124 million in taxes over 20 years from operations on an expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Given the significant financial benefit of TMEP to all of Canada, it is incumbent upon the Government of Canada to exercise power to ensure the TMEP is completed, including issuance of all permits, similar to use of Canadian Aviation Regulation to issue permits for the Parkland Airport Development Corporation.

The Government of Canada, through various regulatory frameworks, has exercised its legislative and jurisdictional authority in the approval and oversight of projects deemed to be in the interest of Canada as a whole, including radio communications, inter-provincial railways, and airports and aerodromes.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Alberta Energy

Alberta has, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for safe, modern pipelines. The Trans Mountain Expansion Project is a federally approved project that will allow us to break our land-lock, and is critical for the market diversification of Alberta’s oil. If completed, the expansion would result in higher netbacks for oil producers and potentially higher government resource revenues. With initial construction already underway at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, and Kinder Morgan moving forward to acquire the necessary permits in Alberta and British Columbia, we are optimistic we will see shovels in the ground in 2018.

We have been tireless in standing up for Alberta, showing Canadians that our pipelines are safe and something we can be proud of. We will not stop until construction is underway on the

Trans Mountain Expansion Project and Alberta oil is flowing to new markets. We will continue to use every opportunity to support this project whether it be intervening in legal challenges like the Federal Court of Appeal judicial review of the project in October 2017, or participating in regulatory processes like the National Energy Board hearing on Burnaby permitting in December 2017.

In addition, Alberta will continue to press the federal government to promote and defend this approved pipeline. Construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project means more markets for our energy resources—something that benefits both Albertans and Canadians.

National Energy Board

Thank you for your letter dated 28 November 2017, and your interest in the National Energy Board’s (NEB or Board’s) oversight of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the project).

Your letter and the AAMDC resolution relates to the progress and timeliness of regulatory permitting for the project, and concerns raised by some municipalities along the route of the project. As related matters are before the Board for decision, we are unable to comment on your resolution.

You may follow the Board’s proceedings for the project on the NEB website at this location: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/trnsmntnxpnsn/index-eng.html. The Board’s regulatory filings are also available at: https://apps.neb-one.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Home/Index.

Public safety and the protection of the environment is of paramount importance to the NEB. The NEB will hold Trans Mountain accountable for its performance during the construction and operation of this project, including full compliance with all regulatory requirements and commitments.

Thank you again for your interest in the National Energy Board


The Government of Alberta has been a strong supporter of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and has worked to ensure Alberta’s natural resources reach tidewater. Based on both the Government of Alberta’s response to this resolution and recent comments from the Premier of Alberta and other provincial ministers, RMA is satisfied that the Government of Alberta is sufficiently supportive of this project.

As of August 31, 2018, the Government of Canada purchased the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, demonstrating commitment to completing the project. On June 18, 2019, the Government of Canada announced that construction of the pipeline was approved with 156 conditions to be enforced by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). The CER replaced the NEB. Construction began in Alberta in December 2019. In February 2020 the Federal Court of Appeal rejected a claim put forward by several First Nations that federal officials failed to adequately consult with them on the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In January 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada also ruled against a bid from the Government of British Columbia to block the project, determining that the project was legitimate.

Given that the Government of Alberta’s support of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project meets the intent of the first operative clause of the resolution, and the Government of Canada has approved the project, this resolution is assigned a status of Accepted.

Provincial Ministries:
Federal Ministries and Bodies:
National Energy Board
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