06/17/2014 06:11 EDT | Updated 08/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Northern Gateway Approval: Alberta Lauds Decision As Good First Step

EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Dave Hancock says the decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is a step forward for the country.

Hancock says the pipeline to ship Alberta crude to the B.C. coast is critical to diversifying Canada's economy and paying for goods and services, like health care.

The federal government has given approval to the line, provided 209 conditions can be met, including engagement with First Nations and other communities along the pipeline route.

Former federal environment minister Jim Prentice says he, too, believes the decision is a good first step.

He says Alberta's next premier will have a critical role to play to build partnerships to help make the pipeline a reality.

Prentice is one of three candidates vying to become Alberta's PC party leader and premier, with voting set for September.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal See Gallery