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Canada regulators OK pipeline expansion that would increase oil tanker traffic to Washington

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SEATTLE (AP) — Canada energy regulators have recommended approval of a pipeline-expansion project that would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers moving through the waters between the U.S. and Canada.

The National Energy Board on Thursday recommended the federal government approve Kinder Morgan Canada’s plan to nearly triple pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The Trans Mountain project would carry oil from Alberta to the Vancouver, B.C., area to be loaded on to tankers for Asian and U.S. markets. It would increase vessel traffic through the Salish Sea by seven-fold.

The board said the project was in Canada’s public interest, despite threats to the endangered killer whales that spend time in Washington state.

Kinder Morgan will have to address 157 engineering, safety and environmental conditions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is expected to make a final decision by the end of the year.