Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited his time living on the West Coast in his appeal to Metro Vancouverites who might be disappointed by his government's decision to green light the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion for a second time.

"To British Columbians who worry about a spill, for example, know that we take your concerns very seriously," he told reporters Tuesday. "I lived in Vancouver when I was a teacher, and I have deep B.C. roots. I understand your desire to protect the coastline, your ocean, because I share it."

The controversial pipeline project has already faced strong criticism in the Lower Mainland.

Tuesday's announcement triggered a large protest in Vancouver.

The pipeline expansion was previously approved but overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal last summer, which found that the government hadn't properly consulted with Indigenous communities or considered the impacts of increased oil tanker traffic on marine life off the B.C. coast.

Trudeau said the project is expected to break ground "this construction season."