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YVR Vancouver Airport Fuel Project Granted Conditional Approval

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VANCOUVER - The B.C. government has granted environmental approval to a company planning to build a pipeline and upgrade an airport-fuel terminal on the banks of the Fraser River — but there are 64 conditions.

The provincial government says the Environmental Assessment Office has reviewed the project and found it will not result in any adverse affects, but it is tying dozens of conditions to the approval.

Those conditions will require tankers to be double hulled and pre-screened before they enter Canadian waters, that two tugs escort each ship, and that marine pilots are trained for the river's environment.

The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. has said the existing fuel-delivery system isn't sustainable and depends on a decades-old, 40-kilometre pipeline from Burnaby, B.C., as well as truck shipments from the United States.

The corporation wants to upgrade a marine terminal, develop a fuel-receiving facility in Richmond, B.C. on the Fraser River's south arm, and build a 15-kilometre-long underground pipeline to Vancouver International Airport.

The Vancouver Board of Trade says the announcement will ensure the airport has the fuel it needs for future growth and to welcome new flights and airlines into B.C.

"The numbers clearly demonstrated to us how necessary this project is to the long-term success of our airport," said Elio Luongo, the 2013-14 Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade, in a media statement.

"Not only is YVR’s current fuel delivery system operating at full capacity, but the airport is forced to bring in an average of 1,000 tanker trucks of jet fuel each month from Washington state. This new fuel delivery system will provide a more sustainable solution for YVR, which will strengthen our role as Canada’s Gateway to the Pacific."

The Vancouver Airport Authority also welcomed the issuing of the assessment certificate.

"YVR requires a long-term safe and secure jet-fuel delivery system to fulfill our mandate of connecting British Columbia’s people and goods to the world," the authority said in a news release.

The airport contributes about $5.3 billion annually in gross domestic product for the province, the authority said.

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