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A pipeline project that would vastly expand Canadian oil exports to Asia is dividing the country, pitting indigenous groups and people who fear damage to the scenic coastline near Vancouver against the central government and the influential energy industry. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to ship oil extracted from the inky black tar sands north of Alberta across the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies."It just boggles my mind that people are willing to risk Vancouver to a catastrophic oil spill," said Stewart Phillip, the grand chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, which represents 115 aboriginal groups that oppose the expansion.Many indigenous people see the 1,000 kilometers of new pipeline as a threat to their land, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the United States.Those who make an economic case for the project point out that Canada has the world's third-largest oil reserves but is overwhelmingly dependent on refiners in the U.S., where a barrel of Canada's heavy oil is sold at a discount of between $15 and $30 per barrel.Canada wants to diversify oil exports to Asia where oil commands a higher price. Trudeau has offered to financially support the pipeline.
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