Approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion quashed by Federal Court of Appeal

Friday, 31 Aug, 2018

A panel of three judges have voted unanimously to overturn approval of the contentious Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

Trans Canada, for example, abandoned its Energy East project a year ago when the NEB abruptly announced it was including downstream emissions of the pipeline in its environmental review.

In the decision released Thursday, and written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found the National Energy Board's assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016.

Horgan said BC "entered this appeal late in the day, after being sworn in last summer and we did so to support the Tsleil-Waututh, but also, when you're an intervenor, of course you have to add to the argument".

In her address Thursday evening, Ms. Notley said she's angry at the court decision.

"We'll see what the federal government decides to do", he said.

"The law requires Canada to do more than receive and record concerns and complaints", the court said.

"However, the flaws discussed above thwarted meaningful, two-way dialogue", the judgment said.

"We're going to review today's decision to ensure that we're meeting high standards when it comes to both protecting the environment and meeting our obligations to consult with Indigenous peoples", Morneau said during a news conference. He also cited past Trans Mountain spills.

Singh, meanwhile, told reporters in Ottawa that the Trudeau government did not consider what the project would mean to coastal communities and marine life in B.C., including a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said the court has spoken and that the NEB erred in consultation. "The federal government now owns a multi-billion dollar pipeline it can't get built".

"There's no reason to continue to play the sucker in this scenario", she said.

"This is a watershed moment for a troubled and controversial project", Hasselman said.

Christian noted Kinder Morgan pays into the city's utility tax category, revenue that was set to increase with the expanded infrastructure.

"Of course we're very happy with the decision", Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said, adding that the ruling is "one that I think reflects numerous issues that we have raised throughout the hearings".

The court decision is a victory for indigenous leaders and environmentalists, who have pledged to do whatever necessary to thwart the pipeline, including chaining themselves to construction equipment.

Environmental groups and First Nations hailed the ruling.

Bill Morneau, Trudea's finance minister, tweeted Thursday that the government was reviewing the decision and he would speak more thoroughly about it later in the day.

"It's quite a slap to the government by the court on the grounds of reconciliation with First Nations", said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at University of British Columbia.

The court's rejection places greater importance for Canada's oil industry on two other pipeline projects.

"Some people are wondering why we're building a new pipeline if we're really serious about dealing with climate change", Trudeau acknowledged. "The court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water".

Thursday's ruling puts the government in a hard position, said Stewart Phillip, grand chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. The court's decision is as crippling as a sudden-death loss.

"That's exactly the problem, there wasn't meaningful consultation and so these are the kinds of things that need to be done the next time around".

Horgan stopped short of saying the project is dead, but he said his government will now focus on other issues, such as housing and jobs. "So I believe that the arguments about where the environment rests in terms of jurisdiction in Canada is still important". "They actually bought the pipeline that nobody wanted", he said. In return, the federal government has committed to piping Alberta's oilsands bitumen to British Columbia's coast, where it can be shipped to overseas markets.

The expansion would triply the capacity of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from near Edmonton to Burnaby to almost 900,000 barrels a day. That, in turn, meant that the energy board did not assess the potential impact of increased tanker traffic on the southern resident killer whale population.

Its report to the government failed to give Ottawa the information "it needed in order to properly assess the public interest, including the project's environmental effects - matters it was legally obligated to assess", the ruling states. Canada has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.