Alberta premier Rachel Notley was on a site tour with Enbridge at Hardisty, Alberta Thursday morning celebrating the start of construction on the biggest pipeline project in the company’s history at the very time that BC attorney general David Eby and environment minister George Heyman were holding a press conference describing their “initial action” to fight construction of another major export project, the Trans Mountain expansion.

Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project, which received federal regulatory approval along with Trans Mountain in November 2016, will increase throughput capacity on a 50-year-old pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin by 430,000 bbls/d.

The $5.3 billion project will enable Enbridge to run Line 3 at its original operating capacity. It has been running at reduced volumes since 2010 to ensure safe operations.

“This is an exciting day for Albertans and all Canadians,” Notley said in a statement.

“Line 3 is about good jobs, growing Alberta’s – and Canada’s – economy and ensuring we have safe, modern infrastructure to transport our energy resources to market while protecting the environment…Alberta is committed to being a global leader in environmentally responsible energy development, and energy infrastructure projects like this are essential to our future prosperity. We are proud that the resources that flow through Line 3 come from the most responsible, forward-looking energy jurisdiction in North America – and arguably the world.”

After receiving final permitting from Minnesota, which is expected in 2018, the pipeline project is expected to be completed and in service in 2019.

Meanwhile in BC, Eby and Heyman announced the province has secured former judge and BC NDP leader Thomas Berger as external council to help with legal action against the Trans Mountain project, which has approval from the federal government as well as the previous BC administration and is expected to begin construction in September.

BC premier John Horgan had previously said his government would use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the pipeline expansion.

Image: Premier Rachel Notley, Amarjeet Sohi, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Kent Hehr, federal Minister of Veterans Affairs and Leo Golden, Enbridge vice-president tour the Line 3 construction site in Hardisty, Alberta. Source: Government of Alberta