June 18 (UPI) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet approved an expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline Tuesday.
Tuesday was the second time the project had been approved by Trudeau's government amid a history of delays and protests over plans to grant the extension that will carry about a million barrels of oil from Alberta to British Columbia.
In the decision, Trudeau's Cabinet agreed with a conclusion by the National Energy Board that although the pipeline poses a potential threat to the environment and marine life, it also stands to generate billions of dollars for the government and provide job opportunities.
Trudeau also pledged that all of the money the government earns from the pipeline will be directed to investments in clean energy projects and proceeds from the sale of the pipeline will be used for projects to help Canada transition away from fossil fuels.
"We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future. We need resources to invest in Canadians so they can take advantage of the opportunities generated by a rapidly changing economy, here at home and around the world," he said.
Further, Trudeau said the pipeline is important to enable Canada to deliver oil to foreign markets such as Asia and reduce dependency on the United States.
"As we've seen over the past few years, anything can happen with our neighbors to the south," he said. "Right now, we're prisoners to the American market."
British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he was "disappointed" by the government's decision to approve the project and that it causes the House of Commons' recent declaration of a climate emergency to "ring hollow."
Margot Venton, of environmental law organization Ecojustice, said the government can't commit to expanding the pipeline and protecting the environment at the same time.
"The reality is that the government can put Canada on the path to a safe climate future and fulfill its legal responsibility to protect endangered killer whales, or it can push this pipeline through. It cannot do both," Venton said.