Court delivers stunning blow to Trans Mountain pipeline

Posted September 02, 2018

On Ottawa's watch, work was halted on other major pipelines, such as Northern Gateway and Energy East. Trans Mountain was left as the one major conduit that could potentially carry Alberta oil to world markets, rather than the US refineries that are the destinations for every other Canadian pipeline. In a written decision, the court says the energy board's review was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.

Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance Christianne Wilhelmson says the Trudeau Liberals have been shamed.

Trudeau's Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, said he would speak about the decision on Thursday afternoon.

In the wake of the Federal Court's bombshell decision to quash cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is pulling her province out of the national climate change plan.

The Canadian government in May agreed to buy the Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. (KML) oil pipeline project, at least temporarily, to ensure an oilsands conduit via the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) could be built from Alberta to the southern Pacific coast of British Columbia (BC).

"Our coast was not considered by the National Energy Board and I feel that those citizens have been vindicated today", said Horgan.

"What we really saw today was a confirmation that our government's decision to buy this pipeline because of political risks that were hard for a private actor to manage was absolutely the right [one]", he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier on Twitter that he had spoken with Notley and assured her that his government would continue to back the project.

"Four or five hundred tanker crossings a year will not happen, the risk of a diluted bitumen spill will not increase, it's significant to the orcas, it does not solve all the other problems", says Wilhelmson.

The court ruled that the energy board review contained a fatal flaw: it excluded the project's impact on marine shipping.

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Less than an hour later, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders voted by a margin of 99 per cent to approve the sale of the pipeline and expansion-related infrastructure. "Obviously that move didn't have the desired effect or at least hasn't yet and I haven't seen the reaction from the federal government for this decision, so I guess we'll wait to hear what their next steps are".

The scheme had been a crucial test for Trudeau and his government, who swept into office in 2015 on promises of striking a balance between economic growth, environmental concerns and repairing the country's fraught relationship with Indigenous peoples. "Until now our rights and our water have been disregarded by Kinder Morgan and the Government of Canada", Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan said in a statement.

The decision in Tsleil-Waututh Nation v.

In terms of meaningful consultation with First Nations regarding the project, Dreeshen feels many were on board with the project.

"We want to make sure the project proceeds, but we want to make sure it moves ahead in the right way", he added, explaining that the government would review the ruling to see how it can address environmental and indigenous concerns.

The environmental groups involved in the case also cheered the ruling, with Ecojustice, the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation calling it a "critical win" for the climate and coastal ecosystems.

"I think it reaffirms that, in Canada, we have a system that's so complex that even governments struggle with it ..."

"Going forward, we urge politicians and other project proponents to shift their focus away from projects that lock us into dependence on fossil fuels", Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel said.

October 26, 2017: Kinder Morgan Canada asks NEB to allow work to begin despite a failure to obtain municipal permits from the City of Burnaby.

Several Indigenous groups and environmentalists applauded the ruling, which emerged from a legal challenge backed by more than a dozen groups, including the city of Vancouver, several First Nations and environmental organisations.