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Pro-pipeline protesters chant outside natural resources minister announcement

CALGARY — Hundreds of pro-pipeline protesters rallied outside a Calgary office tower during a clean energy announcement by federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

The protest by the group Canada Action attracted about 300 people who chanted “build that pipe” and carried signs that called on the federal government to kill Bill C-69.

The legislation would repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and retire the National Energy Board.

It would leave the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and the Canadian Energy Regulator responsible for reviewing the environmental, health, social and economic impacts of designated projects.

Critics say it would make it next to impossible to get any energy projects approved in the future.

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Sohi told reporters the government is working toward getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built and that Albertans need to be patient.

He rejected the idea of speaking with the protesters to tell them in person.

“You know I’d rather focus on the area of solving problems and that’s exactly what I have been focused on since Day 1 with full respect of people’s ability to demonstrate and share their views and make their point,” Sohi said.

Canada Action founder Cody Battershill said those suffering in the oil and gas sector are sick of delays.

“We’re always hoping to hear from the minister and anyone about what they want to do and what they’re doing for the energy sector but we haven’t seen action the way that we need and we know there’s a lot of layoffs and a lot of people not working,” he said.

The consultation period for the Trans Mountain pipeline project is to end June 18.

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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