Trans Mountain: Court quashes approval of contentious pipeline

Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain expansion sits at a stockpile site in Kamloops

Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain expansion sits at a stockpile site in Kamloops

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is pulling Alberta out of the Trudeau government's climate change plan after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the federal government failed to properly consult on the Trans Mountain Pipeline and ordered construction halted.

"The Board unjustifiably defined the scope of the Project under review not to include Project-related tanker traffic". The Index's 2018 report described Canada "as one of the largest producers of absolute greenhouse gases as well as per capita emissions".

He says it isn't just because of the increased potential of ship strikes but the increase in noise.

Conservationists called the ruling "a critical win" for the at risk killer whales. On Thursday a Federal Court of Appeal ruled to stop the expansion projects indefinitely. "Also, I think it's going to mean we're continuing to be dependent on the USA for our fuel supplies".

No topic has captured the attention of Tyee readers more than the Kinder Morgan pipeline project - so much so that seven of the 10 most read articles this year were on the Trans Mountain expansion.

In July, three were placed on the site of an ancient Secwepemc village in North Thompson River Provincial Park near Clearwater, British Columbia. This is a significant step beyond what other federal governments have done.

In her decision this morning, Federal Court Justice Eleanor Dawson stated that the National Energy Board had failed to account for tanker traffic in its report, and that the federal government had not fulfilled its duty to adequately consult with Indigenous groups before approving the project.

The court decision cited the Trudeau government's failure to consult with Canada's First Nations, specifically the government's insufficient treatment of oral traditional evidence, lack of sufficient time given in the consultation process for affected groups to inform themselves well enough to participate, and failure to consult about the environmental assessment. "It means upholding our commitments with Indigenous peoples and it means responsibly protecting Canada's and Canadians' investment". He said the court decision does little to inspire confidence, despite a broader recovery in global commodity prices.

The Trans Mountain pipeline has dominated Alberta politics in the previous year and it, along with everything it represents - including Alberta's carbon tax - is expected to overshadow all other issues in the spring election.

Canadian Fist Nations communities rejoiced Thursday after the expansion to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline was suspended by a unanimous vote from the Federal Court. "We remain committed to building this project in consideration of communities and the environment, with meaningful consultation with Indigenous Peoples and for the benefit of Canadians".

In late May, Canada announced it would spend $3.5bn to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, in essence nationalising the project.

"The government is deeply invested in this and it is going to cost the government a fortune". Canada has the world's third largest oil reserves, but 99 percent of its exports now go to refiners in the USA, where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount.

"They keep moving the goalposts on what is required", said Kenney.

But the government still faces an uphill battle, as Indigenous leaders, environmental groups, and several municipalities in BC have vowed they won't allow the project to be built.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, an opponent of the project, said he was pleased that the court found there are serious impacts that have not yet been full considered.

Similarly to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, Trans Mountain brings oil from the booming oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to a market for sale or refining. "We won!" said Chief Lee Spahan, of the Coldwater Indian Band, at a press conference in Vancouver.

Now the issue will no longer be top of mind for British Columbians, Horgan added.

"Their victory is not yet secure I don't think, there is an enormous amount of pressure on this government from the prairie provinces, from the business sector, from the Conservative opposition to be seen to be doing something to make sure this thing goes through", said UVic Political Scientist Jamie Lawson.

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