CALGARY, Alberta, April 26 (Reuters) - The Canadian
government has ordered Trans Mountain Corp to halt work on a
section of its oil pipeline expansion project in Burnaby,
British Columbia, for four months to protect hummingbird nests,
a government spokeswoman said on Monday.
The C$12.6 billion ($10.17 billion) Trans Mountain Expansion
(TMX) project will nearly triple capacity of the pipeline, which
runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to the coast of British Columbia,
to ship 890,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products
when it is completed late 2022.
Trans Mountain said the order applies to a one-kilometer
stretch along its pipeline right-of-way and work continues on
all other areas of the 1,150-kilometer (715-mile) route. There
has been no change to the expected in-service date.
An Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) enforcement
officer visited the site in a Burnaby forest twice this month
after complaints about construction activity affecting nests
including those of a species known as Anna's hummingbird, which
are migratory birds protected under Canadian law.
Migratory birds are particularly vulnerable during nesting
season. ECCC issued a written order on April 16 to halt any
activity including tree felling with heavy machinery on the
site. The order lasts until Aug. 20 when nesting season ends.
"Cutting vegetation and trees or carrying out other
disruptive activities such as bulldozing or using chainsaws and
heavy machinery in the vicinity of active nests will likely
result in disturbance or destruction of those nests," ECCC
spokeswoman Samantha Bayard said in a statement.
Environmental campaigners and some indigenous groups oppose
the project, which has been beset by years of regulatory delay
and cost overruns. In 2018 Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau's government bought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan
Canada to ensure the expansion proceeded, making Trans Mountain
a government corporation.
Sara Ross, a member of the Community Nest Finding Network,
which raised the alarm about hummingbird nests being affected,
said more government monitoring was needed along the entire
"When the government is the owner as well as the regulator,
it means groups like ours are imperative," Ross said.
($1 = 1.2395 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Peter
Cooney and Richard Pullin)