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'Beyond advocacy:' Saskatchewan premier forms cabinet committee on pipeline expansions

The Canadian Press
'Beyond advocacy:' Saskatchewan premier forms cabinet committee on pipeline expansions

REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has put together a committee of cabinet ministers to assess how the government could help get more pipelines built in the province.

“Our government recognizes the necessity of further developing pipeline infrastructure to help our energy products reach key global markets,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Jeremy Harrison, minister of trade and export development, said because of the political risk around building pipelines – whether created through litigation or regulatory uncertainty – Saskatchewan will also consider taking equity positions in projects.

Harrison, as well as the ministers of Environment, Energy and Resources, and Finance are in the group.

“It’s not ideal that you would have governments directly involved in this fashion in energy infrastructure projects, but the reality is that unless government’s are involved in energy infrastructure projects, they’re not going to get built,” he said.

“We do have an economic and policy interest in having these pipelines constructed and that requires government to have a role beyond advocacy.”

Harrison said the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a good example of government equity at work. He welcomed a decision Tuesday from the Federal Court of Appeal dismissing challenges to the project’s approval.

“This project needs to go forward as quickly as it can possibly go forward,” he said.

Moe said the idea for the committee came from communities, Indigenous leaders and businesses that want to expand pipeline access into the United States or create it through the Port of Churchill in Manitoba.

The premier said encouraging pipeline expansion and supporting Indigenous participation are two of the goals in the government’s plan to grow Saskatchewan’s population and economy.

©2020 The Canadian Press

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