Trans Mountain ruling increases uncertainty among resource industry groups

Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

Court quashes Canadian approval of Trans Mountain oil pipeline

A worker walks past heavy equipment as work continues at Kinder Morgan's facility in preparation for the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday April 9, 2018.

But many indigenous people see the 620 miles of new pipeline as a threat to their lands, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the U.S. Many in Canada say it also raises broader environmental concerns by enabling increased development of the carbon-heavy oil sands.

Opposition groups argue the risks of oil spills in the Salish Sea - home to an already-endangered killer whales - and the potential hazards of increased petroleum tanker traffic are too high a price to pay for an economic boom.

January 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now be assessed in part on the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry.

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.

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

Trans Mountain officials said they were "reviewing the decision" with the Canadian government and "taking the appropriate time to assess next steps".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hailed the expansion as a key to reducing Canada's reliance on USA oil and boosting exports to Asia, and said it would create up to 15,000 jobs.

The Federal Court of Appeal in Canada ruled Thursday that the National Energy Board failed to properly consult First Nations that lie along the project's 1,151km route.

The court combined into one case almost two dozen lawsuits calling for the energy board's review to be overturned.

He said it was clear that the consultations the Trudeau government conducted were inadequate, even though the government did another round of discussions after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Stephen Harper's approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline in 2016 over a failure to consult.

The court's decision was announced minutes before Kinder Morgan shareholders voted to approve the sale of the pipeline to the Canadian government.

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Now, the Liberal government is the owner of a proposed pipeline project that could be subject to years of further review.

"With the Trans Mountain halted and the work on it halted, until the federal government gets its act together, Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan", she said.

"We would like to see a NAFTA agreement sooner rather than later", he said.

"We believe the regulatory goat rodeo regarding this project (and others) has led to a significant reduction in investment in Canada and outright divestitures by foreign corporations".

The Trudeau government, he said, "abandoned its promise of reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous Peoples when it forced this risky project on numerous individual, rights-holding First Nations in 2016".

The Squamish Indian Band, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, and Squiala First Nation are among the plaintiffs on the case the three-person court heard.

"What seems to me is happening in this case is the court is drifting a little more towards saying, 'We're really going to take a hard look at how you engage in that consultation and sometimes we're going to be so demanding that it's pretty much equivalent to a consent type of rule'".

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday the federal government is carefully reviewing the decision but is determined to proceed with the project, that, he said, is in the best national interest and "critically important" for the economy.

"Trans Mountain is now taking measures to suspend construction related activities on the project in a safe and orderly manner".

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.

Greenpeace and others called the court's decision a "major victory" for indigenous rights and efforts to curtail global warming.

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