BC to join legal battle against Trans Mountain pipeline

12 August, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • BC government seeks intervener status on Trans Mountain expansion

On Thursday, the B.C. NDP government announced it had hired high-profile lawyer Thomas Berger to help its case against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

"Our government made it clear that a sevenfold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbor is not in B.C.'s best interests", Heyman said at the news conference in Victoria.

The government will seek intervener status in a legal challenge that will soon be heard by the federal court against the National Energy board's approval of the expansion. Until these consultations are completed in a way that meets the Province's legal obligations, work on the project on public lands can not proceed.

Bridget DePape is taken into custody on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014 during a demonstration to protest the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Under Berger's guidance, the province will also apply to have intervenor status in another legal challenge to the National Energy Board's approval now winding through the federal court.

"We are committed to working with the province and permitting authorities in our ongoing process of seeking and obtaining necessary permits and permissions", said Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson in the release.

He said the majority of the project is on public and First Nations lands.

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Alexandre Deslongchamps, a spokesman for federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, said in an email to the Courier the government's decision to approve the pipeline "was based on facts and on evidence and what is in the national interest".

Hudema added that if the B.C. government is serious about using every tool in its toolbox to fight the pipeline, it will "fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as part of its stated commitment to respect Indigenous rights, including the rigth to free, prior, and informed consent".

Berger is a former B.C. Supreme Court Justice and a former B.C. NDP leader. "Growing a strong economy for the future requires taking leadership on the environment and we have done exactly that".

But it still faces a number of hurdles, including a legal challenge by British Columbia's First Nations.

The NDP government appears to be making good on its promise to oppose Kinder Morgan's Transmountain Pipeline expansion.

Eby explained there are two court actions underway with regards to the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities, and individuals, and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with construction activities in September". Kinder Morgan Canada's stock price fell 3.6% in trading on Toronto stock market, closing the session at C$17.28.

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